Sir Guy Carleton elementary is the only Vancouver school being awarded a playground grant in the final phase of a three-phase Ministry of Education funding program.
Education Minister George Abbott announced Carleton, located at 3250 Kingsway, would get $50,000 at a press conference in New Westminster Thursday morning.
The latest funding round allots $3.3 million to 80 B.C. schools in 60 school districts to repair, improve or replace playgrounds.
Depending on how elaborate they are, school playgrounds can cost anywhere from $30,000 to upwards of $100,000.
A total of $8 million was available through the twoyear program. Vancouver Parent Advisory Councils, which raise money to pay for playgrounds, weren't granted any money in the first round, which doled out more than $2 million. Thirteen Vancouver parent groups were given a total of $380,000 in the second round, which granted a total of $2.4 million.
"Our government is committed to providing students and communities with safe and modern playground facilities to promote play-based learning, physical activity and healthy lifestyles," Abbott stated in a press release. "With the final phase of this $8 million investment, our playground funding program has supported new and improved playgrounds at 227 schools across the province."
According to Thursday's announcement, $25,000 was awarded to qualifying schools for repairs to existing playgrounds, $50,000 was given to schools to enhance minimal equipment and $50,000 was handed out for replacement of existing equipment.
A letter from Abbott to Vancouver School Board chairperson Patti Bacchus dated Feb. 8 indicated VSB staff had identified six local schools prioritized for repair/replacement funding-Sir Guy Carleton, Sir James Douglas, Queen Elizabeth annex, George T. Cunningham, Captain James Cook and Chief Maquinna.
Surrey and Vancouver were among the school districts that received the highest total of playground grants, according to a Ministry of Education spokesperson, who noted Vancouver received a total of $431,500 through the three funding phases.
The communications department explained in an email to the Courier that the ministry asked all school districts to update or confirm their priority ranking of schools requiring either the upgrade, repair or replacement of existing playground equipment. The VSB's highest priority was Carleton.
"With the program funds remaining for Phase 3, the ministry was able to allocate funding to each school district for its identified highest priority. Funding was also available for an additional school in 20 school districts that did not previously qualify for either Phase 1 or Phase 2 funding. This additional school was the highest ranked school requiring the playground upgrades. If upgrades were not identified by the school district, then its second highest ranked school requiring an upgrade or replacement qualified for funding," the email noted.
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