news in 5 

IN-5:(chris woodall) Ripped off no more! A revamped phone service offered by BC Tel becomes good news for Whistler households with multi residents. Getting stuck for long distance calls that aren't yours will be a thing of the evil past with "Call Guardian." It blocks all long-distance calls, including collect calls and other types of calls that still managed to squeeze onto the phone bill under BC Tel's former call-blocking option. Now the only way to make a long-distance call is with a calling card or pre-paid phone card. Because even "0" for the operator; or "1" numbered calls can't be made — except toll-free 1-800 calls — the person whose name is on the bill will get a special 1-800 number to allow that. Best of all, the service is free. The service used to cost $25 to install and $9 a month. Now the only charge is $10 to get back onto the unrestricted long-distance service. Wait for it We'll have to wait little longer to find out what's in a report to examine Howe Sound School District's finances, education programming and administration. "The report will be released and available to the public as soon as the board concludes its present deliberations, which we expect to be shortly," says board chair Constance Rulka. "The board knows there are a lot of rumours and speculation in the district and we want to put them to rest." The board has been reviewing the report since Jan. 21. "I want the students, teachers, administration and the public to know that the board is working diligently and with due care in its deliberations as we consider the report's recommendations." Longer hours 'surprising' The provincial government call for high-growth school districts to keep schools open longer is "surprising," says Howe Sound district school board chair Constance Rulka. Although Rulka says she hasn't looked in depth at the government report on 100 cost containment strategies, she hopes to discuss it soon with her board members. The review of capital expenditures includes requiring "high-growth school districts to extend hours of operation at secondary schools prior to building new space or replacing existing space." Schools would open two hours longer in the day if implemented, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The report also calls for more joint community/school use of school facilities and playgrounds. The government forecasts a saving of $8.7 million with these ideas.

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