Districts receive maintenance cash

North Okanagan schools will have cash for routine maintenance.

The Ministry of Education is providing annual facilities grants to the Vernon and North Okanagan-Shuswap school districts.

“We had been hoping for this,” said Bill Turanski, Vernon School District chairperson, adding that there is always some uncertainty about funding levels.

“It’s a big help. We can move ahead.”

The $1.67 million in grants will allow the Vernon district to proceed with some projects during the summer.

“It can go to repainting, maintenance and roof replacement,” said Turanski, adding that the goal of  the works is to increase the longevity of buildings and ensure the safety of students and staff in the schools.

“These are practical things we are talking about.”

Under ministry guidelines, expected uses of the grants include:

  • Heating, cooling and other mechanical upgrades.
  • Boiler replacements and energy-efficiency upgrades.
  • Roofing and flooring projects.
  • Site improvement and playfield upgrades.
  • Painting, refinishing and other routine maintenance.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District is receiving $1.61 million in annual facilities grants.

“It’s what we expected,” said Sterling Olson, secretary-treasurer.

“It’s great considering that AFGs were frozen a year ago and cut.”

According to Olson, there is a short timeline to  prepare for maintenance in the summer.

“To get out and go to tender for the work to be done in July and August, the funding announcement must be done early. The timing with this isn’t bad,” he said.

Olson believes there is a need for multi-year funding so districts can plan ahead.