Brandon school board trustees have denied a request for a $30,000 loan guarantee for a new play structure from Valleyview Centennial School’s parent council.
Brandon School Division board chair Mark Sefton said after a lengthy discussion at Monday night’s regular board meeting, the majority of trustees weren’t in favour of approving the request.
“It was just not something we felt we could do,” Sefton said. “We would be committing a future city council and a future school board to a budgetary item, and you just can’t do that.”
Since 2011, the City of Brandon and the BSD each agreed to set aside $30,000 of their annual budgets to put toward one new play structure a year.
Michelle Hood, Valleyview’s parent council representative, told trustees at an earlier board meeting that the school’s “current structure is falling apart.”
Although Valleyview is slated to receive funding for a new structure in 2015, Hood was trying to fast-track it to install the first phase of a new playground this June.
Despite their decision, Sefton said trustees were impressed with the parent council’s “passion and dedication.”
So far, the three-member parent council committee has raised roughly $32,000 to put toward a new structure.
“They have a vision and they’re really pursuing it and our hats are off to them,” Sefton said, adding the board agreed that further repairs where possible would be made to the structure in the meantime. “Our hope is that we could help find some way of making it safer.”
Sefton said he’s also “very, very confident” funding from BSD and the city will be available as scheduled in 2015.
Also during their Monday meeting, trustees passed a motion extending the catchment area for Riverheights School Grade 7 and 8 students from the current boundary east from McDiarmid Drive to the west side of 26th Street. The southern boundary will be extended west on Victoria Avenue to 26th Street and the northern boundary extended to the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks, which will include Westaway Bay, Pacific Avenue and other bays from 34th Street to 26th Street.
Sefton said the changes will help the school division manage its space.
“That was one change that we had to make, and I would say that in the future we are likely going to have to make some other changes until the province builds a new school.”
Trustees also warmly welcomed some significant scholarships.
Three Brandon Clinic Medical Corporation Scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each will now be awarded annually to a Grade 12 graduation student from each of the division’s three high schools.
The Gracie Daniels Bursary/Award in memory of Roberta “Gracie” Daniels, a former BSD student, in the amount of $6,000 will also be distributed annually to 11 Neelin High School Off-Campus program graduating students. Sefton said 10 Neelin Off-Campus students will receive $500 each, with one student receiving $1,000.
“Anytime some organization or individual steps forward with that kind of support for students, we’re incredible grateful,” Sefton said.