Trent Ernst, Editor
The Tumbler Ridge Parent Advisory Council (PAC) has over $1000 more to work with this year than normal, thanks to a Community Gaming Grant from the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development.
“This is the first I’ve heard of this,” says Jocelyn Redford, the outgoing president of the Student Advisory Council.
The additional money provides a welcome problem for the council: what to spend it on. PAC can use the gaming grant funding to support a wide range of student services, including extra-curricular activities, student travel, playground and sports equipment, as well as scholarships and bursaries.
“We had surplus last year, so we finished up most of the projects we were working on,” says Redford. But she has some ideas already. “There are some issues with school parking lot. We are talking about signage, so some of that money could go towards that.”
But, she says, ultimately the decision is in the hands of all the members of the committee.
The funds are part of $76,220 in Community Gaming Grants from this year that has been awarded to the School District 59 District Parent Advisory Council and 16 Parent Advisory Councils across the region.
While PAC has gotten grants in the past, says Redford, this is one of the largest amounts in recent memory. “We used to get $20 per student,” she says. “For a few years, it dropped to $15 but now it’s back up to $20.”
This year’s grant works out to $8,900, up $1,140 from last year, which is equivalent of 57 extra students.
“That’s more money than we usually get,” says Redford. “We could do a lot with that.”
Recent projects that PAC has undertaken has included new swings at TRE and funds towards the new gym floor and bleachers at TRSS. “We try and focus on what’s needed and what’s wanted,” says Redford.
Across BC, over 1,400 Parent Advisory Councils and District Parent Advisory Councils (DPACs) will share almost $11 million in Community Gaming Grants this year. “Parent Advisory Councils do a lot of great work for schools, from organizing after school events to buying sports equipment,” says MLA Mike Bernier. “The funding they receive through Community Gaming Grants gives PACs financial support that helps them provide these sorts of services, which make a big difference for students.”