District Uses One-Time Student and Family Affordability Fund to Expand School Food Programs +More
Based on consultations with Indigenous groups, school communities and parent advisory councils, the district will use a multi-pronged approach to spend the $607,563 SD72 received as part of the Student and Family Affordability Fund to help students and families struggling with rising costs.
At the November 15 public board meeting, Director of Learning Support Services Brenna Ewing provided trustees with an overview of the strategy that was developed in consultation with Indigenous groups, school communities and parent advisory councils.
School food programs, such as Backpack Buddies and the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Program, will be expanded and new community partnerships will be offered with the Salvation Army, Campbell River Food Bank, and Emergency Food Program using approximately $200,000 of the fund. Another $75,000 will be used to offset fees for school supplies, consumable course materials, and field trips for families in need.
Schools will also be able to apply for funds out of a pot of $300,000 to help them best address needs within their school community. This could include additional food security, school supply or fee relief needs.
Lastly, another $30,000 will be used as an emergency fund by counselors and youth care workers connected to the district’s Learning Support Services and Indigenous Education departments to help respond to significant hardships that may unexpectedly arise for families during the school year.
In August, the Ministry of Education and Child Care announced the Student and Family Affordability Fund to help students and families struggling with rising costs due to inflation. SD72 received $607,563 under this one-time funding for use during the current school year.
School districts were required to consult with Indigenous groups, school communities, and parent advisory councils about how best to use this money. The funds are to be used in as flexible, private, and stigma-free manner as possible and districts are required to track and report back to the Ministry on how the funds were used.
Even before this funding, the school district provided breakfast/snack/lunch programs, clothing, transportation, a summer reading program for vulnerable learners, youth care workers, prescription medication and eyewear, and subsidized field trip costs.
To access support, families are encouraged to have a private conversation with their child's teacher, school principal or other trusted staff member. These conversations will be held in confidence and treated with sensitivity.