Unexpected money for School District 72

Thanks to the quick thinking of Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Patrick, School District 72 will be receiving an extra $458,000 from the provincial government to cover the cost of a new sprinkler system for Pinecrest Elementary.

Patrick presented the Board of Education with the pleasant announcement at its last public meeting, confirming the receipt of the grant, contingent on the board passing a bylaw that it spend the money on capital improvement.

About 20 years ago, Patrick told the board, the Ministry of Education moved from requiring applications for capital project funding for each project to giving out lump-sums of money, in the form of Facilities Grants for districts to do with what they would.

“Just recently, they added $20-million to provide for some routine capital,” Patrick said. “I guess this is their way of acknowledging that one roof can take up a whole annual facilities grant, which ours do.”

After the announcement of that money being made available, Secretary-Treasurer Patrick went looking for some work that had been done during the period the government set out in their restrictions, and found the sprinkler system at Pinecrest that was upgraded during the seismic improvements may have qualified.

And it turned out he was right.

“The Ministry (of Education) approved $458,000 to support that project,” Patrick told the board, meaning the $458,000 that had been committed to that project can now be used elsewhere.

The board, however, would need to pass a bylaw in order to receive that money, which it happily did.

Capital Projects Bylaw #126976 was given all three readings at the meeting and passed unanimously, allowing the district to receive that money.

“I’d like to commend Secretary-Treasurer Patrick for accomplishing that grant,” said Superintendent Tom Longridge after the vote.

“It was quick thinking on his part, and he saved us almost half a million dollars.”