SD73 hopes it can sell surplus land soon
The Kamloops-Thompson school district’s board of education is hoping announcements made as part of last week’s B.C. budget will mean fewer restrictions when it comes to selling property.
Board chairwoman Denise Harper said she’s optimistic the province will have “less of a stranglehold” on district land, making it easier to sell property and raise funds for capital projects.
“As it stands right now, there’s a lot of hoops that need to be hopped through [for the school district to sell real estate],” she said.
“The district has little parcels of land all over the area. In some cases, it’s pretty valuable.”
In the budget, school districts were encouraged to sell surplus property. Harper said she’s hopeful that will mean the process will become easier.
However, even if a property is sold, she said, it’s not certain SD73 will collect all the proceeds.
Harper said it depends on how the land was acquired in the first place.
Last year, the district took in $7 million when it sold a parcel of land to Telus.
That money, like any funds acquired through land sales, can only go toward capital projects within the district.
Harper said SD73 officials are conducting a survey of district properties to determine potential parcels which could hit the market.
She said any money gained could go a long way.
“It would be very helpful,” she said. “Where we’re lacking funds is in capital projects.”
Day of action
Yesterday (Feb. 27) was a provincial “day of action” for the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.
Teachers worked their regular hours, but held meetings over the noon hour and, in some cities, planned to stage demonstrations after school let out.
As of KTW press time, it was unclear what form the day of action would take in Kamloops.
Harper said SD73 officials weren’t sure what to make of it.
“It’s rather difficult for us,” she said.
“We had no official notification from them that they are doing anything.”
She said district staff will continue to perform supervision while the teachers’ job action carries on.
“The most important thing is the students,” she said.
“We want to ensure that the children are supervised and taken care of.”
Last week, Education Minister George Abbott announced back-to-work legislation to end the ongoing labour dispute between the province and its public-school teachers.
The union is expected to decide this week whether it will escalate its job action.