Gaming grants to School's Parent Advisory Council's doubles: still not what it once was

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
September 29th, 2010

It was announced today that “more than 1,400 B.C. parent advisory councils (PACs) will share $11 million in community gaming grants this school year to support activities for children, “wrote Rich Coleman, Housing and Social Development Minister and Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Education in a press release.

  “To recognize the value of parents’ involvement in their children’s education, this year we have doubled the grant to $20 for every student enrolled in B.C.,” Coleman said.   Like the previous release on “upping gaming grants” release earlier this month, this release also fails to note the history of PAC funding more than one year into the past. While the report states that the BC Liberals have doubled the grant for every student enrolled in BC from last year’s low of $10, if you look at previous funding levels they have actually only just begun to restore the funding to its previous levels.   “We had the funding reduced last school year to $10 per student,” commented RSS PAC president Diana Wilkes. “So while it looks like we have had an ‘increase’ that is simply not true – it really is restoring us to the previous amount. Way back in the old days, it was $40 per student but there were greater restrictions on the allocation of those dollars.”   In total, Rossland area school PAC’s received a total of $12,260. The L’ape De L’Ecole Des Sept-Sommetts received $920, Maclean Elementary PAC received $4,120 and Rossland Senior Secondary PAC received $7,220.   Activities that gaming grants support include school drama and chess clubs, writing, debating and music competitions, and student societies, as well as student travel in B.C. Newsletters, yearbooks, playground and sports equipment, awards, trophies, scholarships and bursaries are also funded through these grants.   In the past RSS has used the gaming grant money to support sports programs, event entry fees, assisting the band program (last year they help buy a new bass drum), art program supplies, computer program, drama program, cameras, debate club, swim club and more.   “We make every attempt to spend the money around so all students receive some benefit from the gaming dollars,” added Wilkes. “We have also supported the grade six’s and seven’s swim program for example. We also like to see most of money used within the school year that it is granted, as the money is intended for the students. “   “Parents are key partners in the education system, and do great work in support of students and educators,” MacDiarmid said. “I know they will make excellent use of the resources that are available to them.”   If you want to have a voice in how this money is spent,  the RSS PAC invite you to come to their next  meeting , October 13th at seven pm in the RSS library. The group is currently working on a new format for receiving requests for PAC funds.

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