Students, families and residents in rural B.C. communities will benefit from a $3.4-million boost under the Rural Education Enhancement Fund (REEF) to ensure 11 schools remain open.
Six elementary schools in rural B.C. communities will receive funding for the first time under the program. The remaining five schools are receiving funding for the second year.
REEF was first announced last year to help school districts keep rural schools open to support student learning and community development. In total, more than $5.1 million has been invested under the program.
The amount of funding each district is eligible to receive reflects the amount of money that would be saved if the school was closed. Eligibility criteria include:
- The school must be located in a rural community or sub-community outside Greater Victoria, the Lower Mainland, and Kelowna areas with a population of less than 15,000;
- The school must be the only one in the community;
- Closing the school would have a negative effect on students and/or the community; and,
- Closures where the main reason is facility condition are not included.
This investment builds on government’s ongoing work to develop a provincial rural education strategy that looks at public school funding, the condition of schools, and the role education plays in rural communities.
As a result of B.C.'s strong economy and balanced budget, the Government of British Columbia is able to support record funding increases for students and B.C.’s education system.
Mike Bernier, Minister of Education –
“Schools are the backbone of strong and vibrant rural communities. Through REEF, we’re supporting B.C.’s rural communities to ensure they have the school infrastructure they need to grow and support student learning and the local economy.”
- Rural school districts in B.C. receive about 20% more funding per student than urban districts – and special supports like the Rural Education Enhancement Fund.
- Budget 2017 commits $9 million over the next three years to keep more rural schools open.
- In addition, Budget 2017 supports $2 billion in capital spending to upgrade or build new schools over the next three years.