More funding to improve schools through better ventilation, reduced emissions and increased accessibility is going to school districts around the province with annual capital programs that are creating safer, healthier schools and supporting CleanBC initiatives.
“Investments in schools are investments in student success, and we are putting more resources into buses, classrooms and schools so that students can thrive,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “That’s why our government continues to deliver on our commitment to support school districts in upgrading and maintaining their schools to ensure students are learning in safe, healthy environments.”
The Government of B.C. is providing $240.5 million in 2022-23 for school maintenance projects, which includes $48.4 million to upgrade HVAC systems at 90 schools throughout the province. Since the start of the pandemic, the ministry has provided $163.1 million in provincial and federal funding for HVAC upgrades, providing students with healthier places to learn.
This year, $15 million will go to purchase at least 82 new school buses, including electric school buses. Additional funding is available through the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Initiatives for school districts that choose to purchase electric buses. This supports the Province’s CleanBC targets for public-sector organizations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 for vehicle fleets.
“Every zero-emission vehicle on the road, including large ones like buses that our schools and students rely on every day, means a reduction in harmful pollution, resulting in cleaner air, cleaner water and quieter streets,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “We’re supporting and developing British Columbia’s EV sector, which creates good jobs in a growing industry, and supports our transition to a low-carbon economy.”
To further improve energy efficiency at B.C. schools, the Ministry of Education’s Carbon Neutral Capital Fund is providing $23 million this year to support energy and electrical upgrades at 75 schools. This can also include funding for electric vehicle charging stations, allowing more districts to support CleanBC initiatives.
“We’re investing in better learning environments for students with more energy efficient, comfortable and healthy buildings that will reduce pollution and help fight climate change,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Through CleanBC, we’re building a cleaner, better B.C. for young peoples’ future by reducing emissions in schools while creating new opportunities in a net-zero emissions future.”
Investments in school maintenance are part of the Province’s work to ensure students have the best learning experience possible in safe, positive and well-maintained schools.
In addition to maintenance projects, the Province has invested more than $2.6 billion in over 130 major school capital projects in the past four years, which includes 33 new or replacement schools throughout the Province.
To support this momentum, the Province will invest $930 million in the coming year to continue building new and improved schools where they’re needed in B.C.
- School districts that purchase electric school buses can receive additional funding of 33% up to $150,000 per bus through the CleanBC Go Electric School Bus program.
For a backgrounder on provincial funding programs in support of B.C. public schools for 2022-23, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2022_23_EDUC_Capital.pdf