Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 will benefit from provincial funding to the tune of more than $1.6-M.
The B.C. Ministry of Education announced $240.5 million in maintenance grants this year – a 10.5 per cent increase over last year in an effort to become energy efficient.
In all, B.C.’s 2021 budget includes a record $3.5 billion for investments in school capital that also include new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and replacements, and land purchases for future schools to support growing communities.
As part of the School Enhancement Program (SEP), Rossland Summit School and Stanley Humphries in Castlegar will receive upgrades to its HVAC system.
The Carbon Neutral Capital Program (CNCP) will provide HVAC upgrades at Fruitvale Elementary and Kinnaird Elementary, while the Bus Acquisition Program will provide SD20 with two new buses.
The CNCP was increased by $5.8 million to $23 million this year and funds projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase energy efficiency. This includes HVAC systems, solar panels and electric-vehicle charging stations.
“With over 1,500 public schools throughout our province, maintaining and improving our facilities is a critical priority to ensure students are learning in healthy, efficient and positive environments, no matter where they live,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education in a release. “From ventilation and heating, to energy efficiency and lighting, increased maintenance funding allows districts to tackle immediate priorities and focus on providing the best learning experience possible for every B.C. student.”
The province will spend $15M on more than 100 new school buses, including electric school buses in support of the province’s CleanBC targets to reduce their GHG emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 for vehicle fleets.
“We are creating a cleaner environment for students and putting future generations on the road to a clean energy future,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Not only are these electric school buses reducing air pollution, but they also cost less over time to operate.”
The funds will see improvements to HVAC systems at 84 schools, electrical systems at 66 schools, and energy system upgrades at 26 schools throughout B.C.
“I’m pleased to see this increase in funding, as it helps support the important services provided by the 30,000 CUPE members who work in the public K-12 system,” said Paul Faoro, president, CUPE BC. “And initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of our schools benefits everyone.”