The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District starts the new school year benefiting from a large surplus in its Local Capital surplus fund.
Money carried over from last school year plus more than $889-thousand garnered from the sale of Shuswap Middle School property on Okanagan Avenue in Salmon Arm booted the surplus to 1.8 million dollars
At Tuesday’s board meeting, official trustee Mike McKay allotted a good chunk towards a four year information technology plan.
“Otherwise we’d keep playing catch up and getting in a position where a whole lot of equipment and programs are old and redundant. So we’re spending 400 thousand in information technology.”
That includes computers for classrooms and teachers.
Another 300 thousand is going to various other costs, including 180 thousand for transportation maintenance.
McKay says the remaining 1.1 million will be left for the new board to use as needed.
Meanwhile, the district is seeing a big increase in enrolment this school year.
McKay is encouraged by what he calls promising numbers.
“We’re almost 200 students above last year’s enrolment. We’re slightly above what we had projected for this year. We were projecting an increase but we’re even above that by a little bit. So that’s good news.”
Part of the increase is due to the opening of South Canoe school with its outdoor program, which has taken some pressure off other schools.
McKay has given his endorsement for the formation of a parents advisory council for South Canoe.
A number of parents were at Tuesday night’s board meeting to get the PAC off the ground.
McKay notes the new outdoor program will need their guidance as it develops.
“This is not a blank page because there are lots of good ideas and lots of passion that’s gone into the planning. But now it’s here and parents will certainly be central to how it looks going forward.”
McKay says stories are already coming out about students coming out of their shell, engaging with nature and showing improvement in communication, writing and creativity.
Meanwhile, McKay reminds anyone considering running for a spot on the new school board that Friday at 4 pm is the deadline for filing nomination papers.
He says he’s looking forward to seeing a board elected that’s going to take things forward in a positive direction.