Federal funds boost transitional learning, cleaning in Richmond schools

The Richmond School District is spending $1.65 million on transitional learning teachers and $2.7 million for custodial staff out of the $7.4 million it received from the federal government’s “Safe Return to Class Fund.”

Details on how the federal funds have been budgeted is outlined in a report going to the Richmond Board of Education for its board meeting on Wednesday evening.

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There will also be four staff hired to support transitional learning - remote tutorial, resource and counselling support - to the tune of $400,000, and another $300,000 will be for two tech support workers and various hardware and software for remote learning, for example, laptops and keyboards.

The only budget item for alternative and Aboriginal Education programs is $30,000, earmarked for substitute teachers.

The spending plan includes $335,000 for learning resources and supplies for remote and outdoor learning.

In addition to the $2.7 million for custodial staff, $500,000 is being budgeted for cleaning equipment, and $500,000 to improve ventilation. The latter will increase energy costs by 16 per cent.

According to board chair Ken Hamaguchi, there was no requirement from the Ministry of Education to have board approval for the $7.4 million federal funding. There were strict guidelines on how the money could be spent.

Staff, however, met with trustees to explain how the money was being spent, and “trustees were satisfied with the plan,” Hamaguchi explained.

Half of the funds were received in September and the other half will come in January.

The board of education is holding its first meeting of the school year on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. Members of the public can watch it online and send questions during the meeting. Go to sd38.bc.ca for more information.


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