New Westside High School Escapes Capital Project Deferrals – Lake Country Calendar
Deferred funding for capital projects by the Department of Education has not impacted plans to build a new secondary school for the Westside.
Kevin Kaardal, superintendent/CEO of Central Okanagan Public Schools, said media reported earlier this week that the department had put seven capital projects on hold due to financial impacts from the pandemic and widespread flooding in Last year.
Kaardal said he read media reports about the funding cut, but the department gave no indication to central Okanagan public schools that the new Westside secondary project could be included among those seven deferred projects, which are not have not yet been publicly identified by ministry officials. .
Taken a step further, it also casts doubt on the government’s level of commitment to school capital budget requests for the upcoming school year.
This week, the Central Okanagan Board of Education approved an updated five-year plan of capital spending priorities, which all school districts submit annually to the Department of Education.
Among these priorities were a new middle/high school in Glenmore, an elementary school in the Wilden area, and an upgrade to middle school in Rutland.
The Vancouver School District complained this week that the province refused to fund any new major capital projects for the 2022-2023 school year and refused earthquake repairs to three schools deemed to be at risk of collapse. as high as possible during an earthquake.
The Mission School Board also expressed dismay that an $87 million project to replace Mission Senior Secondary in the Fraser Valley community has been shelved indefinitely.
Mission School Board President Tracy Loffler said a business case for the new school will now have to be resubmitted, pushing the project back two years.
“We were made a promise,” Loffler said. “We would just like to start this project.”
The ministry released a statement on Monday confirming the postponement of the seven projects, calling it a necessary step to prioritize 11 urgent school capital projects, “including the replacement of facilities deemed unsafe for long-term use and construction to create new student seats in high enrollment areas.”
The new Westside Secondary is one of 79 school capital projects across British Columbia where funding has been approved that are in design, construction or where enough work has been completed for students to occupy the building safely, the ministry said.
The 2022-23 provincial budget provided $3.1 billion over the next three years to build and expand schools to accommodate growth, retrofit schools in the event of an earthquake, and maintain existing schools.
BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon called the postponement announcement “appalling” and pointed to the province’s controversial plan to spend $1 billion on a new Royal BC Museum. British in Victoria.
Falcon told Postmedia News that the museum’s plan going forward means other public spending projects will have to be “sacrificed.”
Green Part leader Adam Olsen said that if the government continues to insist that it can replace the museum and make schools safe for children “then they have to demonstrate as a government that they are doing it, they are able to do both.