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school funding

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A late application for funding for some Grade 11 and 12 classes has cost the new Whistler Secondary. In a letter dated July 9, 1996 Nancy Edwards, secretary-treasurer of the Howe Sound School District, wrote to the planning officer of the facilities branch of the Ministry of Education to ask for guidance on how to secure funding for equipment for a number of Grade 11 and 12 courses. Edwards’ letter says in part: "There will obviously be a need for equipment for the senior science courses. Again, I am asking your guidance on how we might access the funding for equipment for the senior science courses." According to a Mountain FM report, a representative from the facilities branch confirmed the school district did not apply for the equipment funds until July 9, by which time all such funds had already been allocated. On Monday Pique was told the facilities branch representative who confirmed the late application had left for the day. On Tuesday he was reported to have gone on vacation and all media enquiries were directed to the communications department. Howe Sound School District Superintendent Doug Courtice said he doesn’t believe the district was late in its application, but said: "I have instigated a complete review." The letter from Edwards notes that equipment allowance for one course, Technology 11, is approximately $126,000. The letter lists six other Grade 11 and 12 courses for which funding was sought. One source suggested Whistler Secondary could be out as much as $500,000 because of the late application. Courtice thinks the whole matter grew out of confusion when Whistler Secondary grew from the projected 200 students to more than 300. "What we have been trying to do is impress upon (the ministry) the need for funding for 300 students," Courtice said. However, he was adamant the school would be fully equipped. "We are going to provide adequate resources for the students in that school," Courtice said. "We will do it. They will get the resources they need." One of the ways that could be done is to pass a local borrowing bylaw, which the school board has the authority to do. The board could then go to a bank to get a loan to buy the missing equipment. Another way to deal with it would be to send the Grade 11 and 12 students to Pemberton Secondary for this year. A special school board meeting was tentatively planned for Wednesday, as Pique went to press.

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