School District writes school improvement wish list

School District has wish list but not likely to receive the funding for all of the projects

Every year, each school district in the province is required to submit a five-year capital plan to the Ministry of Education asking for funding for renovations and other major capital projects.

This year’s School District 72 funding request was passed by the Board of Trustees at its most recent public meeting and consists of 11 projects it is hoping to complete over the next five years.

Year one of the proposed plan would see the district install fire sprinklers at Pinecrest Elementary at a cost of $458,000 along with an almost $1-million mechanical upgrade, work on one of the boiler rooms at Southgate Middle School at a cost of $359,528 and upgrade the seismic resistance of Cortes Elementary Junior Secondary at a cost of more than $1.3-million.

Year two of the plan sees a proposed Penfield Elementary sprinkler system installed along with $330,000 worth of roof replacement work on Carihi Secondary.

Carihi also sees a proposed mechanical upgrade in year three, valued at almost $1.5 million.

Southgate Middle School and Sandowne Elementary are both scheduled to get their sprinkler system installed in year four of the proposed plan.

The only item on the plan for year five is a $510,000 roof replacement on Cortes.

So, in total, the district is requesting approval for more than $7-million in funds for capital projects over the course of the five-year plan.

“Basically, you prepare reports, you put the detail forward, and if the board approves the plan (which they did), the Ministry will review them and will fund based on the requests,” said Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Patrick.

Trustee Ted Foster questioned why there is no request for funding new busses on the plan summary, as most proposals he’s seen in the past contain an amount for that expense.

“The Ministry has given us the guidelines on what qualifies (for bus replacement),” Patrick said, “and for this year and next year we don’t have any busses that qualify,” explaining the district got new busses too recently for any of them to have reached a high enough mileage to qualify for replacement.

“As soon as they reach that point, we do get them on (the list of funding requests).”

It should be emphasized that the capital plan summary is merely the district’s “wish list,” according to Jennifer Patrick, SD72 communications and community engagement officer.

“It is not guaranteed that we will receive the funding to proceed with these projects,” she says, “and we do not usually get funded for that many requests.”

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