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school capital plan

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By Amy Fendley An addition for Whistler Secondary school is the first priority in the Howe Sound School District’s 2000/01 five year capital plan, which was approved last week. According to the plan, $4,733,531 has been allotted for the new addition to Whistler Secondary, which will increase student capacity to 550. Planning of a second addition, to increase capacity to 700, will begin in 2005. However, the Ministry of Education usually allocates funds for capital projects as it can afford them, rather than according to school districts’ priorities. "The government can change the plan as they wish, but regardless our first priority is the expansion," said Andre Janyk, school board trustee. "We have to build the labs and shops first because they’re the most expensive and we’ll work from there. We have a ton of students coming from the elementary school in September." "There are five portables already and that number could be at 10 pretty quick if we don’t get some changes," said Janyk. Construction of a second Whistler elementary school, to commence sometime in 2000, will help relieve the overcrowding situation at Myrtle Philip Community School and Whistler Secondary, but it will be at least 2001/02 before the new school opens. Howe Sound school district administrators are still working with the RMOW to determine an appropriate site within Intrawest’s proposed Spring Creek subdivision for the new Whistler elementary. Myrtle Philip currently has six portables, but another four will be brought in prior to September. The current enrolment of 525 pupils is projected to rise to 543 next year. A $1,113,768 funding allotment for a new classroom wing addition to Myrtle Philip Community School is also in the five year plan, for 2001/02. By 2001, Whistler students will remain in either one of the two elementary schools for Grade 7, instead of going to Whistler Secondary as they do currently. Meanwhile, the school board is revising or deleting numerous outdated policies and regulations. One revision is the dual model of operations. While most school systems have a CEO, Howe Sound has a dual model where authority is shared between Nancy Edwards, secretary treasurer and Mike Fitzpatrick, superintendent of schools. "Most of our policies didn’t reflect our dual model," said Fitzpatrick. "B.C. laws have changed and some policies haven’t been updated since the ’60s." The school board has also released a new mission statement: Always Supporting Learners o valuing individuals o fostering pride o expanding opportunities. "The old one was Preparing Students for the 21st Century, we wanted something new that would reflect some of our values," said Fitzpatrick. "Expanding opportunities reflects the entrepreneurial view we’re taking on education, and valuing individuals is very important from students, to teachers, to parents, to our local media personnel." An upcoming Communication Plan will come in front of the board for approval June 24. Fitzpatrick describes it as a "detailed strategy for the district — who does what and when."

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