Kamloops-Thompson school board approves fees to help fund new schools

The rates for school site acquisition charges apply to new developments and will be $288 per unit for single-family dwellings, $259 per unit for multi-family dwellings/low density and $201 per unit for multi family dwellings/high density.

The Kamloops-Thompson school board has unanimously approved implementing school site acquisition charges.

Trustees approved the resolution following a two-week public input period.

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The fee will be applied to new developments in Kamloops. It will be collected by the municipality and forwarded to the school district.

School site acquisition charges act as partial payment of new school sites required as a result of residential development.

The board was told school districts in B.C. must have school site acquisition charges in place to receive capital funding from the Ministry of Education for the purchase of school sites. Kamloops is the only jurisdiction in the Kamloops-Thompson school district that will require new school sites in the next decade. Developments in Barriere, Clearwater, Logan Lake, Chase, Westwold, Savona and Sun Peaks are not included.

In Kamloops, two schools are eyed for Aberdeen in the next 10 years: a secondary school site a minimum of 4.5 hectares in size and an elementary school site a minimum of 2.5 hectares in size.  

Based on current land values in that area, the two new school sites are estimated to cost approximately $7.3 million.

The board estimates school site acquisition charges can be applied to 8,766 development units constructed in Kamloops over the next 10 years, with the addition of 2,354 more school-age children to the school district.  

The rates for school site acquisition charges will be $288 per unit for single-family dwellings, $259 per unit for multi-family dwellings/low density and $201 per unit for multi family dwellings/high density.

The board sought input from the public on the resolution until Nov. 23. Among 12 online comments posted by the district, both contempt and praise for the fees were expressed. Comments received from some supporters suggested additional and higher fees, while a few dissenters called for pay cuts among district staff or utilizing closed schools, to which the school district noted all but two are being used within Kamloops. The two closed schools are already being leased for other purposes.

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