Parents debate how technology fund gift should be allocated 

Should Sea to Sky high schools get the bulk of grant money on offer from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation?

Or should every school in the district get access to some of the money depending on how many students attend the facility?

That was one of the main issues debated at a District Parent Advisory Council meeting held this week in Whistler.

The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation has offered to give the Howe Sound School District $250,000 over three years for technology.

In order to access the funds, which can only be spent on computers and permanently attached peripherals, matching funds must be raised.

Representatives at the meeting were expecting a plan outlining the technology, education and spending plan from the school board.

In return the school board was hoping the DPAC would endorse its plan so it can move forward and gain access to the funds.

Initially the school board had suggested the greatest need was in the high schools and it had suggested the money go there first and then technology would trickle down to the elementary schools.

However since the Parent Advisory Councils of every school have to come up with thousands of dollars in matching funds many felt that plan was unfair.

This week the school board suggested that the money be accessed by each school depending on how many students attended the facility.

What became clear during the heated hour and half debate was that none of the representatives had enough information to endorse what the board had given them.

"The report was disappointing because we expected so much more," said Cathy Jewett of Myrtle Philip elementary school after the meeting.

"We didn’t get a technology plan and that was one of the things we were promised.

"We are looking for a plan to go with it to say over the 36 months if (the board) had $500,000 what are your priorities and how are you going to spend it, so that everybody feels they are being treated fairly and the high schools get what they need – everybody gets what they need.

"I think everybody thinks the Whistler Blackcomb money is a great thing but it takes time to organize the plan.

"We want to do what is best for everybody and we expected a plan that would help us do that but we didn’t get it."

Dave McRae of Valleycliffe Elementary agreed: "We would buy into this as long as the correct information was there."

DPAC representatives received a report outlining the education plan and list of how much each school would need to raise in order to access funds based on how many students were in the school.

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