The following is a letter sent to Premier Gordon Campbell by Kathryn Tompkins, chairperson of the School District 19 District Parent Advisory Council, earlier this month regarding cuts to PAC funding from the Gaming Commission. An identical letter of concern was also sent to MLA Norm Macdonald.
Dear Mr. Campbell,
I am writing to you on behalf of the District Parent Advisory Council for School District #19, and the Parent Advisory Council for Revelstoke Secondary School.
We would like to express our concern over the cutting of the Sports Travel Subsidies, which were funded through gaming funds. In addition to the sports subsidies, we were very disappointed to have our gaming grants cut in half, as it makes it more difficult to ensure our students have equitable opportunities to their peers in British Columbia. We don’t feel that our students should be disadvantaged because they live distances from opportunities other students in the province enjoy.
As I am sure you can appreciate, in Revelstoke we are isolated from many things, which can be a financial burden on the school district for travel. One of the ways we have been able to off-set the costs of sending teams and individuals to provincial competitions, is through the Sports Travel Subsidies that as a PAC we apply for on behalf of the school. Over the years these subsidies have been reduced, so that they were barely covering the minimum expenses, and now they are completely gone.
In a province that prides itself on supporting sports, and active lifestyles, it seems contradictory to cut the very funding that makes travel possible to participate. In Revelstoke Secondary, we have a variety of team sports, and individual sports, that our students enjoy competing in with the rest of the province. It would be a hardship for the parents of these students to have to pay for their son or daughter to travel on a weekly basis to compete, and it may cause some athletes to drop sports they enjoy playing. As Revelstoke only has one secondary school the nearest school to compete with is over 100 kilometres away.
It is most concerning to us that these gaming funds are being taken away at all. Many of us who buy lottery tickets, raffle tickets, play bingo etc. know that our chance of winning is slight, but the fact that the money goes to support non profit organizations makes it seem a worthwhile expense. We never considered that the government would take money that we do not consider to be theirs in the first place, from the people in the province that need it the most.
Please take our concerns and disappointment to the legislative assembly of the Province, so that this wrong can be addressed. We look forward to a satisfactory conclusion to this matter, and we thank you for your time on behalf of the students in Revelstoke British Columbia.
Revelstoke Secondary PAC Chair