Hydro hike: Chilliwack school district weighs its options

An increase in hydro rates is the latest cost the Chilliwack school district is trying to deal with.

The Chilliwack school district's hydro bill is expected to climb by nearly a quarter-million dollars over the next five years

Chilliwack school district doesn’t know where it will find the $103,000 more needed to pay for the 15.6 per cent BC Hydro rate hike over the next two years.

The school district currently pays $803,500 in electricity. This year it will pay $18,000 more, and next year $85,000 more.

By 2019, when the increase will total 28 per cent more than the current rate, Chilliwack school district will be paying close to a quarter of a million dollars in electricity fees.

The B.C. Education Minister has made it clear there will be no financial assistance coming from the government.

Which has left the Chilliwack school district once again scrambling to find efficiencies to pay for the added expense.

Already this year Chilliwack has faced several unexpected costs.

A byelection, that cost an estimated $50,000; the implementation of early French immersion at $600,000; and a CUPE salary increase at $700,000.

Without the CUPE increase, the school district would have had the funds needed for the hydro increase through its “aggressive” energy savings plan that accumulates an approximate five per cent savings annually. But that money’s since been earmarked for the CUPE increase.

“We had most of the money through our savings, but now we’ve lost that,” said Slykhuis. “It just means another cost pressure for us.”

Peter Fassbender, minister of education, has publicly suggested school districts look at closing schools that are operating below capacity as a cost-savings measure.

But Chilliwack does not have that option.

“Our schools are full … most are bursting at the seams,” said Slykhuis.

Slykhuis said his objective now is to look at all areas for savings and efficiencies.

“That said, it’s still going to be very hard to find these savings,” he said.

kbartel@theprogress.com

Just Posted

Chilliwack organ transplant recipients thank hospital staff during Operation Popcorn

Two double-lung recipients helped deliver large boxes of popcorn to say thanks to doctors and nurses

Chilliwack mom gives back to Royal Columbian Hospital NICU with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Wild Fishmas event in Chilliwack Sunday for salmon defence

It’s a fish-focused festive fundraiser Dec. 8 at the UFV Indigenous Student Gathering Place

Threats to the Fraser River at a ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Fraser Valley Regional District administration/government costs set to rise by 18%

Mosquito control and fire dispatch costs also set for increase

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Most Read