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Okanagan-Skaha School District refunds student activity fees

Province provides $600K to SD67 to cover family’s cost of living increases
Okanagan Skaha School District is allocating a one-time fund of $600,000 to refund student activity fees, help with breakfast programs and further support individual students. (File photo)

Parents and caregivers of students in Okanagan-Skaha SD67 will be getting a refund of the activity fees they paid this year after the district received a one-time inflation fund from the provincial government.

The provincial government announced a one-time fund of $60 million to help families affected by inflation and cost of living increases. School District 67 received $604,177 through this funding.

“We have completed our consultation process regarding how to use this money to best support the needs of families in a manner that is flexible and stigma-free,” said Todd Manuel, Superintendent of Schools.

“Thank you to those community members that took time to respond to our survey. The responses we received have been reviewed, and key themes discussed with our administration team. These themes included requests to expand existing breakfast programs, provide additional support to schools to help cover activity fee costs, and to find ways to support those who are currently facing particular need. This feedback, as well as additional consultation with Indigenous Rightsholders and partner groups has helped inform our plan.”

Following this consultation, the district will be allocating the funds in the following ways:

Activity Fees (all families): $204,000

This money will be allocated to cover the activity fees for all students in the district for the 2022/23 school year.

Those families that have already paid their fees will receive a refund in the coming weeks.

Additional Food and Nutrition (some families): $300,000

The district will provide additional subsidies to school breakfast and lunch programs. This will include enhancing

the brown bag lunch programs. Further financial support will be provided directly to schools based on their

student population to allow existing school-based programs to be enhanced throughout the school year.

Focused supports (individual families): $100,000

This funding will be provided directly to schools to allow individual supports for families that have the greatest needs. This support may include clothing or grocery assistance and will be determined through confidential consultation with school administration and individual families.

“Discussion on the use of school-allocated funds will include continued consultation with Indigenous Rightsholders, Parent Advisory Council’s, and partner groups. Our school communities know their students and families best, and are best equipped to provide focused, individualized supports through these relationships and consultations. We appreciate the support of the Ministry of Education and Child Care for this one-time funding,” Manuel said.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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