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Chilliwack school board denies funding support for RCMP Youth Academy

The RCMP Youth Academy will not be receiving financial assistance from the Chilliwack school district.

A motion presented by school trustee Heather Maahs to donate $100 per Chilliwack student attending the academy for the 2013-14 school year was defeated at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Despite the experience, and successes the Chilliwack-based academy has had for Chilliwack students, board members did not feel it worthy to fund.

“Slippery slope” and “can of worms” were used to describe the act of funding an outside agency.

“We cannot start funding agencies; it will become never-ending,” said trustee Silvia Dyck.

“As much as I am absolutely convinced this is indeed a worthwhile program… I can’t see this as the right thing to do. I must remind myself as a trustee that I need to look at what benefits the most students.”

In a last-ditch attempt to convince her colleagues, trustee Maahs tried rewording the motion, making it $100 student bursaries rather than donations.

But to no avail.

Maahs, shaking her head, was clearly disappointed.

“This is, make no mistake, an educational program… and it’s in trouble,” she said.

The RCMP Youth Academy is a grueling, eight-day program for grades 11 and 12 students who aspire to a career in policing. Held over spring break at Stillwood Camp in Columbia Valley, 50 students from several school districts are selected to participate. Of that, approximately six to eight are from Chilliwack annually.

The cost for students is $400.

“For us to give $100 per student, $600 to $800 total is a mere pittance,” said Maahs.

“If this is the last year this flies, and we as a board are voting against it, it will be a really, really sad day for all of us.”

The motion was defeated with only Maahs and Wiens in support.

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