January 23, 2018

Education minister downplays carbon offset concerns in Vancouver

The Minister of Education is panning a Vancouver school district complaint over a funding disparity when it comes to carbon offsets.

Don McRae says Vancouver needs to look at the big picture when it comes to money to help  schools become carbon neutral.

“Well last year they recieved $ 860,000 in investment and put in less than half of that so what happens is the districts will get back what they put in just over a five year period and some years districts do very well and some years they do like Vancouver did this year and recieved a 100-thousand dollars.”

McRae stressed it isn’t just the five year window there are other avenues for districts to save money.

“The policy is over a five year period the districts will get back what they put into it plus they will also save money when they make these investments. They buy a new boiler for an older school perhaps that will bring back tens maybe 100’s of thousands of dollars over the life of that program so there is the investment return but also the long term savings as well.”

The Vancouver school district pays almost half a million dollars annually into the Pacific Carbon Trust for carbon offsets.

The $ 100,000 they recieved this year will go to converting the district’s gas vehicles into electric.

On another school issue while the Vancouver school district looks for solutions to overcrowding the Minister of Education says they aren’t taking the issue to him.

Don McRae says with more kids than schools in downtown Vancouver the district simply isn’t telling him it is a priority.

“Well I was looking at the Vancouver capital plan which they submitted last October it has 68 priorities in order and when I look through the whole list of agendas and priorities they have there was no secondary school in the downtown core but they are always able to relook at their plan and they can continue to submit capital asks as they go forward but it wasn’t in their top 68.”

A school district report says a number of high school students have to leave the downtown core to go to school somewhere else.

Currently only two new schools, both elementary,  are scheduled to be built downtown.

CKNW Vancouver News

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