School board chairman Don Wilson denied supplies are so low at Whistler Secondary some students are forced to share text books, but said he is going to Victoria next week to see what funds may be available. "There will be enough equipment for everybody, the problem is the school was only planned for 200 students," Wilson said Wednesday. Three-hundred and six students showed up for the first day of school on Tuesday, but more than 330 are registered for the new high school. A letter from school district secretary-treasurer Nancy Edwards to the facilities branch of the Ministry of Education suggests the district did not apply for operating funds for some Grade 11 and 12 courses at the Whistler Secondary until July 9 of this year, by which time all such funds had already been allocated. "We’re looking into the possibility that over the past few years there was not sufficient money applied for," Wilson said this week. "We’re meeting with the ministry next Tuesday to see what money is available. We’ll try and get whatever funding we should have." Wilson said school district administrators are going through records back as far as 1992 to see if the district applied for all that it was entitled to. "By Tuesday the administration will know what we applied for," he said. B.C.’s growing population has placed severe demands on the Ministry of Education in recent years. The student population has grown by more than 64,000 in the last five years and the number of portables used has doubled, from 1,038 in 1991 to more than 2,000 this year. The province opened 22 new or replacement elementary and secondary schools across the province this week, including the Whistler Secondary. And although the local school district’s budget increased for the coming year, it hasn’t kept pace with the number of new students, meaning an overall decline in funding of $22 per student. One of the ways the school board has tried and cope with the financial constraints has been to eliminate all crossing guards in the district. However, Wilson said this week the crossing guard issue will be brought up at the Sept. 11 regular board meeting. "We will be receiving public input on that," he said. However, Wilson added the district will probably have to fund the crossing guards by taking money from somewhere else in the budget. One area where the school district is not saving money is on bussing. The municipality’s transit system has expanded this fall and route scheduling was adjusted so that students could use the public system to get to school. A discounted student pass was being offered. The municipality believed the whole system would have saved the school district money, while adding to Whistler Transit’s revenues. However, the school district is using its own buses to transport students to school. Wilson said he hadn’t heard of Whistler’s plan. He added no additional school buses were required by the district to service the new Whistler school.


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