School funds offset insurance costs

Local school districts are getting an infusion of cash, but it won’t last very long.

Both the North Okanagan-Shuswap and Vernon districts will get an extra $15 per student from the provincial government.

“The district will receive $99,375 as a result of this allocation,” said Sterling Olson, North Okanagan-Shuswap secretary-treasurer.

This funding is part of the holdback the Ministry of Education retains for potential enrolment increases throughout the year. Because district estimates were relatively accurate this year,  the government is providing the remaining holdback funds.

However, the $15 a student could disappear fairy quickly.

“This will be offset by increased direct costs of school protection program premium increases of $45,141 and for other potential losses that were previously covered as government is also increasing our deductible from $3,000 to $10,000,” said Olson of the mandated insurance program for B.C. schools.

The holdback allocation is one-time only, and  Olson says it comes from previously announced funding that should have been distributed as part of the normal budget process.

“The increased costs as a result of the SPP changes are ongoing costs that will continue in future years and currently, no additional funding has been added to the overall operating funding except for full-day kindergarten,” he said.

The Vernon School District will receive $125,959.

‘For our budget, it won’t make a big difference but it’s better than going in the other direction,” said Bernie Weiss, the district’s assistant secretary-treasurer.

“One of the things we have to do with this money is prepay school protection program premiums.”

It’s not known much the Vernon district’s insurance premiums will be.