By Dale Bass – Kamloops This Week
The Kamloops-Thompson board of education is improving its online presence — something it expects parents and guardians will be happy to see.
Along with a redesigned website, School District 73 is creating a portal for online school-fee payments.
“So it’s 10 p.m., the kids are finally in bed and you remember you have to send a cheque to pay for that field trip or yearbook,” said SD73 secretary-treasurer Kelvin Stretch. “Instead, you’ll be able to do it online. It’s hugely more convenient.”
The new website will also have a portal just for employees, something Stretch said should improve communications between the administration, board, teachers and other support staff.
As the person who oversees the financial side, Stretch said another “really good news item” is the increase in funding for full-time-equivalent (FTE) students.
For the 2017-2018 school year, it was $7,301 per FTE and, for the upcoming school year, it will rise to $7,423 per FTE, generating enough funding from the government to cover negotiated wage increases for all unionized employees.
Stretch said budget estimates are based on a levelling of enrolment or a possible increase.
The SD73 draft budget now being reviewed by stakeholders, trustees and others and will go to the April 23 trustees meeting for approval.
predicts 14,265 FTE students in 2018-2019, excluding those who are adults or learning through the district’s KOOL online education program. For the school year that ends in June, that enrolment total was 14,234.
Recognizing some schools are growing faster than others, Stretch said the district will be creating a part-time vice-principal position to add Barriere secondary and another full-time vice-principal at Sahali secondary.
A health and safety co-ordinator position will also be created to help with an increasing workload in that area, Stretch said.
There’s more paperwork now, he explained, as the district continually looks at ways to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all involved in education.
A new district principal for inclusive education position will also be created and 10 more certified-education assistants hired, a reflection of the change in how students with learning challenges are now educated and the district’s emphasis on inclusive and CEA-supported education whenever possible.
The new provincial graduation programming also comes into effect in the next school year.
In addition to the 80 credits required in specific subjects for a Dogwood diploma, students must also complete two career-education courses between grades 10 and 12.