Surrey School District building. (File photo)

Education

B.C.’s largest school district to get $26M in federal COVID-19 classroom funds

Surrey to receive $13.2 million now, rest in January

The Surrey school district, the province’s largest school district, is expecting to receive $26.4 million between now and January through a federal fund.

On Thursday (Sept. 3), Education Minister Rob Fleming announced the $242.4 million earmarked for B.C. as part of the federal government’s $2-billion Safe Return to Class fund, would be allocated to school districts and independent schools, with some left as a reserve for “emerging COVID-19 related issues.”

The first half of the one-time $242.2 million funding is expected this month.

READ ALSO: $242M in federal back-to-school funding to be divvied up by districts based on enrolment, Sept. 3, 2020

READ ALSO: Feds roll out $2 billion to fund return-to-school safety amid pandemic, Aug. 26, 2020

Broken down, $101.1 million would be going to B.C. school districts, $8 million to independent schools and $12.1 million for the reserve to be used between September and December.

The ministry added it is also expected to receive the second half of the funding in January, “which will be allocated out at that time.”

Fleming added the funds would be allocated to school districts based on enrolment numbers.

Surrey is the largest school district in the province, with roughly 74,000 students in the 2019/2020 school year.

The district has 101 elementary schools, 20 high schools, five learning centres and three adult education centres.

READ ALSO: Surrey school district sees highest enrolment growth in B.C., Dec. 18, 2020

Surrey Schools spokesperson Ritinder Matthew said districts will be receiving two equal payments – one now and one in January.

She said Surrey will be receiving $13.2 million now, with the rest coming in the new year.

The district, according to Matthew, will be using the funds to “support our pandemic plans, including increased health and safety protocols, supporting our learning options for students, staffing, purchasing software, course materials, technology and other supplies.”

On Aug. 31, the school district announced it would be offering a “blended” online option for students who are not keen to return to class full-time this fall.

READ ALSO: New ‘Surrey Blended’ online option aims to offer flexibility to students, Aug. 31, 2020

– With a file from Ashley Wadhwani and Tom Zillich



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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