District unsure about equipment funding

The province has dished out funding to replace dust collectors at two local schools.

The province has dished out funding to replace dust collectors at two schools in the district, though plans may change amid the possibility of school reconfiguration.

There will be $190,600 spent on the dust collector at Princess Margaret Secondary School and $219,300 for the one at Summerland Middle School, both for the schools’ shop areas.

Work is expected to be completed by spring of 2016. Even if Princess Margaret is reconfigured to change its offerings of Grades 6, 7 and 8, to 7, 8 and 9, the new dust collector will be useful as students will have the shop program offered either way.

“Summerland Middle School is questionable as to whether we’d go ahead with that,” said secretary-treasurer Bonnie Roller-Routley. She said the Ministry of Education asked the district to remove the funding announcement from the agenda and deferred the item until after Jan. 20, the day closure and reconfiguration decisions will be made.

Asked if the district’s process of closures and reconfiguration is restricting its ability to benefit from public funding sources, chair Linda Van Alphen said members are going ahead with business as usual.

Funding for the dust collectors was approved under the province’s Routine Capital Program, which bases its evaluation on need, priority and supporting student learning. Upgrades will improve upon air quality and safety.

“The current dust collection unit is undersized for the machinery in the shop area,” according to a press release from MLA Dan Ashton. “Our government is committed to providing safe, healthy learning environments and I am pleased that we are providing almost ($440,000) for these improvements.”