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Oct 24,2006 - Ministry News Release

Ministry of Education News Release

For Immediate Release
Oct. 24, 2006
Ministry of Education


VICTORIA – A total of 34 school districts and their local government partners are now involved in School Community Connections, a provincial program that uses underutilized space in schools as centres for community learning and activity, Education Minister Shirley Bond announced today.

“With the decline in enrolment of an estimated 37,000 students since 2001, this program is a creative way to make the best possible use of our schools,” Bond said during the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. “Everyone benefits when we promote community access to community assets.”

In 2005, Premier Gordon Campbell announced the Province’s investment of $10 million to fund a maximum of 60 School Community Connections projects – one for each school district. Increasing “community connections” in schools fulfils an election platform commitment to make use of underutilized school space.

Of the 34 school districts currently participating in the program, five have progressed to the third and final phase where they are eligible for up to $125,000 to implement the project. Six districts are in phase two where they are eligible for up to $40,000 to develop the project, and 23 are in phase one where they are eligible for up to $5,000 to plan the project. Expressions of interest are still being accepted and the deadline for submissions is April 1, 2007.

“The growing partnership between school boards and local government shows our shared commitment to expand community services and activities into schools. These partnerships help to create better engaged, more active and more connected communities,” said UBCM president Marvin Hunt.

Schools are strengthening ties with their communities by making space available for programs and services. For example, the Sooke school district has partnered with the Capital Regional District and the City of Langford to develop both a community school and an emergency operations centre. These projects will be discussed at the School Community Connections clinic at UBCM tomorrow.

“The capital projects planned through School Community Connections will benefit both students and communities, by making better use of school facilities and enhancing partnerships between school boards and municipalities,” said Penny Tees, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association.

Since 2000-01, the Province has increased funding to public schools by nearly $488 million: $335 million for district operating grants and $153 million for special, one-time grants. With over $4 billion in funding, this year’s budget is the highest ever and will help school districts continue to focus on improving student achievement.


Date Posted:   Oct 31, 2006


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For more information on the School Community Connections, visit

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Media contact:
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Education 250 356-5963

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