Mobilized students support food bank
Students organizing charitable events in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools have made a significant contribution to the Friends in Need Food Bank.
School Board chair Mike Murray announced Wednesday that the schools have combined to donate 2,100 pounds of food and $1,750 in cash to the food bank so far this year.
“It’s pretty outstanding, when you get a group of students mobilized, what they can do,” said Murray.
The school board has approved a new calendar for the 2014-2015 school year, with a two-week spring break and 179 days in session.
Spring break will be from March 9-20 next year, not March 16-27 as was first proposed.
The board got public feedback on an earlier calendar, with 174 responses. Some 56 per cent were concerned that students were only returning for four days between spring break and the Easter Holiday.
School will start Sept. 2. It will close for winter break Dec. 19, and re-open Jan. 5.
After spring break school will reopen March 23 and then close for Good Friday on April 3 and Easter Monday, April 6.
The calendar has all the standard stat holidays as well, as six non-instructional days. School will close on June 25.
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board chairman Mike Murray noted that Canadian Tire offers $55,000 to the community to support children in sports for the year.
The Jumpstart program helps children who need financial help, covering the costs of registration, equipment and even transportation.
Since being launched in 2005, it has supported 711,000 kids.
Murray said community leaders should know the funds are available to children who need it.
“It’s really important that the money is used, and well used,” said Murray.
“That’s a great deal of corporate support, and that’s worth acknowledging.”
Local education politicians told their B.C. School Trustees Association to cut costs, after the association asked trustees for budget feedback.
Trustees noted the board spends $54,000 per year on the association, which provides trustee professional development, advocacy and member services.
Trustees agreed the BCSTA provides valuable information, to new trustees in particular, and the AGM is a necessary function, but told the group to cut back its professional development activities, and not ask for an increase.
“When I found out what we pay I was shocked,” said trustee Susan Carr. “I think it’s an astronomical amount.”
It was later announced that local trustee Ken Clarkson has been elected vice-chair of the Fraser Valley Branch of the BCSTA.
The Ministry of Education has granted the local school board $10,000 under the Carbon Neutral Capital plan, for technical expertise in identifying energy saving projects.
This year the board applied for funding for three different energy-saving projects, including electric cars, improved lighting and heat exchange systems, but received none of the $4.5 million in available funds from the ministry.