Budget items getting a rough ride

School district officials cleared up rumours about some budget items.

Secretary treasurer Bernice Hannam told The News that a $2 million item in the 2009/10 Statement of Financial Information to a law firm in Qualicum Beach is the cost and purchase price of land in Errington for the district’s new bus and works yard, being held in trust.

Relating to the idea of bringing in more international students to counter declining enrollment and threatened school closures, assistant superintendent Rollie Koop explained the district likes to have around 100 to 115 international students at any time.

He said the district has found a balance over nearly 20 years of running the program.

He said that while the international students pay a large premium and bring money into the district, they don’t want to become reliant on them since conditions can change quickly with something like a health scare or economic collapse.

Also, the parents of the international students spend the money to send their children to be immersed in Canadian culture and aren’t interested in sending them to a school full of other international students.

The district also has to prioritize seats for local students and it is only profitable to bring in international students to fill empty seats. If they go over a class limit they would have to hire another teacher and therefore not be profitable.

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