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Money to help Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows students and their families with rising costs

Student and Family Affordability Fund to help with groceries, school expenses
Superintendent for School District 42 Harry Dhillon. (SD42/Special to The News)

SD42 has received $1.6 million from the provincial government to help students and their families with rising inflation and cost of living.

The money will be used to support families in need with school supplies, meals, and school-related fees, explained superintendent Harry Dhillon.

It is part of the $60 million Student and Family Affordability Fund that the Ministry of Education and Child Care is giving to school districts across B.C..

“Many families in B.C. are feeling the effects of global inflation on daily costs, including groceries, school supplies and other school expenses,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care.

“We’re taking action by providing more funding that school districts will use to help meet the needs of families and students,” she said.

Whiteside noted the one-time Student and Family Affordability Fund is to be used to expand and enhance school meals and food programs, and support the provision of school supplies to students, directly offsetting costs to parents, guardians, and students.

“Districts may also use the fund to offset fees related to the learning experience, such as the cost of field trips, to ensure that all students can participate in such opportunities,” she added.

Over the next few weeks, explained Dhillon, SD42 will be consulting with Indigenous rights holders, staff, district and school Parent Advisory Councils and others to see how best to use the money to support families in need in the school district.

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However, he added, they will be releasing a small portion of the funds to schools immediately to help those who need it with any emergency needs with the starting of the school year.

“If your family is experiencing affordability concerns related to school start-up, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s school principal,” said Dhillon, adding that all requests for assistance will be handled confidentially and with care.

Further updates will be provided once the consultation process is complete and it has been determined how the funds will be used, added Dhillon.

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