The Vancouver School Board has taken out a $1.6 million loan from the Bank of Montreal because of unexpected costs in the construction of a new elementary school downtown.
Normally the province funds building schools, but when the government said they couldn’t pay for the additional costs, the VSB decided to take out the loan.
It’ll take 15 years to pay it back.
“We are now in debt each year, which could pay for way more than one teacher. Kids starting kindergarten this year will be finished school by the time we pay this loan off,” said Vancouver School Board member and former chair Patti Bacchus.
“This board should have been advocating publicly and holding government accountable instead of taking from the operating budget.”
The school will be three to four stories high and have a capacity of 510 students. The original budget for the school came in at $13.5 million and when it went over, the government said they couldn’t supply anymore funds.
In a media release, the school board said they urgently need the new school because “the unprecedented pace of development and population increase in the downtown peninsula in recent years has created significant enrolment strain on existing schools in the area.”
Vancity Buzz contacted the Ministry of Education for a comment, but requests were not returned at the time of publication.
“This is not necessarily the government’s priority to be spending money on schools. It’s not one of their big, sexy projects they like to spend money on,” added Bacchus.