Friday, March 12, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Thursday, March 11, 2010)

The Provincial government reverses its thoughts on student funding for Parent Action Groups, BC Hydro looks for more money and the Northern View reviews Wednesday's 100th birthday party, some of the items of note from the Thursday news files.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
FROM PARROTS TO PAC - GOVERNMENT FUNNELS GRANTS TO PARENTS GROUPS -- The provincial governments about face on funding for pupils is getting tentative acceptance by parent's groups and advisory councils, as the province frees up some cash for students by taking it away from such community groups as animal rescue shelters and environmental groups.

BC Hydro is tapping the consumer once again, with a three year incremental tax increase that will see taxes on hydro increase by 9.11 per cent this year, 12.92 The average cost of the increase is expetced to be in the seven dollar a month range.

Three enviornmental groups are accusing the provincial government of dragging its feet on implementation of a long term sustainable logging plan for the Great Bear Rainforest. Their report titled Slipping through the Cracks?, suggests that by their inaction there is a risk of extinction for a number of species within the 6.4 million hectare rainforest.

The Sports section featured a number of items on the All Native Junior Basketball tournament currently taking place in the city.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for March 11, 2010 )

From parrots to PAC - government funnels grants to parents groups
BC Hydro is taking a hike
Business owners share concerns with City Council
Slipping through the cracks - report

The Northern View
City celebrates Prince Rupert's 100th birthday in style -- A look at the celebrations surrounding the city's 100th birthday on Wednesday (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Feasibility Study Nearly Complete -- The study into an employee led purchase of the Eurocan pulp mill is almost complete, however the former employees are working against the clock, the CEP which represents the former workforce at the now closed mill says that West Fraser can begin shipping equipment off site as soon as April 1st ( see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the Daybreak website for March 11

Daily News, front page, headline story
From parrots to PAC - government funnels grants to parents groups
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Thursday, March 11, 2010

The province’s decision to return full per pupil funding to local Parent Advisory Councils from Casino and Gaming revenues is being taken as a goodwill sign that the province is re-committing to a parents role in public education.

Prince Rupert DPAC is pleased to hear of the reinstatement of the Gaming Grants to the previous amount of $20 per pupil student for the district PACs,” said PRDPAC Secretary Treasurer Ida Middleton.

Provincial funding had been a valuable resource to the PAC as it helped fund travel for extracurricular events, Grad ceremonies, bursaries, uniforms, playgrounds and many other things, according to Middleton.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman told Canadian Press that he would rather give government grant money to food banks or girls’ hockey teams than animal rescue societies or environmental groups.

Youth and people with disabilities are in when it comes to receiving government grants, but adult groups and environmental organizations are being cut off, Coleman said Monday as he introduced the government’s community grant policy.

“Parrots aren’t an indigenous bird to British Columbia, and yet they were getting $100,000 for a parrot recovery society,” said Coleman. “I believe the priority has to be around children and youth.”

PAC fit within that mold because they have to do with children’s education.

Coleman said the government will receive more than $1 billion this year in gaming revenues, but gaming grant money to B.C. organizations has been dropping in recent years.

“If you look at it historically by percentage, it’s probably down,” he said.

In the 2008/09 budget year, the government provided $156 million in gaming grants. In the 2010/11 budget year, the amount has dropped to $120 million, Coleman said.

“There’s only one set of books and only so much money to go around,” Coleman said. “I’m satisfied with what we did. I think this is an exercise that needed to be done, whether you were shrinking the envelope or not.”

Middleton added the decrease in funding to $10 last year caused the local PACs to shoulder a burden and were hoping that another grant would be forwarded in 2010.

“We have yet to hear how the PACs that have an Affiliation Grant will be affected, which most of our school PACs in the district possess, as last fall those schools that held affiliation certificates were not eligible to receive the $10 per pupil funding. Also, the funding to DPACs returned to the previous amount of $2500, will allow the DPAC to bring more opportunities to encourage parent involvement in the education system,” said Middleton.

With files from Canadian Press

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