School board disappointed about lack of capital promises in NDP budget

By Chad Klassen
February 21, 2018 - 5:13pm

KAMLOOPS — The NDP government is budgeting $2 billion for capital funding for schools around the province, as well as another $238 million for attracting and hiring more teachers in B.C. But the vice-chair of the Kamloops Thompson School Board said he's disappointed the district wasn't promised any money for capital projects. 

At the beginning of the school year, School District 73 outlined its priorities for capital projects, and at the top of the list is Valleyview Secondary School. How the capital funding is allocated has yet to be determined by the provincial government, but Gerald Watson feels that once again, Kamloops and the B.C. Interior are an afterthought.

"I was looking at it purely from the local perspective, and we've been lobbying very hard to get needed capital dollars brought into the district, and so far it's not looking like we've been successful for this year," said Watson. "We have a lot of pressure points where we could really use the money. Westmount, Valleyview Secondary is our top priority and it's running at 125% capacity right now. We have maybe five, six years and we're going to be closing in on 160% capacity."

Watson says all the district and school board can do is continue to push hard for capital funding for those necessary projects. 

"I think we've made it very effectively. Per capita we've received far fewer dollar than almost any other district in the province. On a dollar for dollar basis, we've received much less than many districts that are smaller than us. That's carried on for many years now," noted Watson. 

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