By David F. Rooney
The government’s decision to cut Direct Access gaming grants are having an impact on the ability of Parents’ Advisory Councils to help pay for non-curricular activities, says District Parents Advisory Council (PAC) Chairwoman Kathryn Tompkins.
“Initially we received $40 per child but that was cut over the years,” she said in an interview. “We were getting $20 a child last year and that has now been cut to $10 a child.”
The cuts, which include reductions in the Sports Travel Subsidies available to students, have a direct impact on the ability of individual PACs to finance everything from the purchase of technology and uniforms to woodshop tools and travel expenses to things like provincial championships.
“We are already very lean in this district so we really feel these cuts,” Tompkins said.
Tompkins has written about her concern to Premier Gordon Campbell and MLA Norm Macdonald.
“We would like to express our concern over the cutting of the Sports Travel Subsidies, which were funded through gaming funds,” Tompkins wrote. “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.”
She said it “seems contradictory” that a province that prides itself on supporting sports would cut the funds that make travel possible for students in isolated communities.
“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,” Tompkins wrote. “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.”
Tompkins said she is encouraging people to write similar letters expressing their concern and dismay.
You can read Tompkins’ full letter in the Opinions & Letters section at www.revelstokecurrent.com/2009/10/26/4254.