Government restores full funding for school upkeep

After two years of repeated delays, annual maintenance work will soon be back on track in the Chilliwack school district.

After two years of repeated delays, annual maintenance work will soon be back on track in the Chilliwack school district.

The B.C. Education Ministry announced on Wednesday it would be restoring full-funding of the annual facilities grant for school districts worth $110 million for the 2011-12 school year.

In Chilliwack, that means $2.15 million will be used on necessary school upkeep.

“We’re very pleased,” said superintendent Corinne McCabe.

The annual facilities grant is used for building maintenance, roof repairs, interior painting, heating and ventilation upgrades, electrical upgrades, parking lot replacements, field improvements, etc..

In 2009, the government cut AFG funding because of the economic downturn. As a result, Chilliwack school district was forced to delay projects, and later to creatively come up with ways to pay for necessary seismic upgrades that included attaching cabinets to walls, tightening light fixtures, and heating and ventilation upgrades.

Partway through the 2009-10 school year, the government partially restored AFG funding, only providing half funding over two years.

“All of our buildings need constant maintenance,” said McCabe. “Getting this [full funding] will allow us to do that much-needed work.”

An annual facilities plan is currently being developed and work will commence in the summer.