Calls made to expand international program

Foreign students could help with district finances

Trustee Julie Austin invited Jake West and Martin Stewart to bring their ideas on expanding the international student program to their upcoming strategic planning meetings.

The international student program in School District 69 (Qualicum) is a money maker and during budget deliberations this week there were more calls to expand the program in hopes of generating even more revenue for the school district.

After expenses including staffing and recruiting the school district makes just under $400,000 from the program.

During the public question period at the April 11 budget meeting, Martin Stewart and Jake West asked board members to come up with a solid business plan for the program that would increase the number of international students in the district and in turn bring in even more money.

Stewart, who ran unsuccessfully for a school board seat in the last election, has been lobbying to expand the international program and asked the board to grow the program not only to earn revenue but to expand the diversity of cultures here.

West, a teacher on call, asked if there was any way they could go after more funding for the program through grants. He suggested students become involved in marketing the international student program.

“Why don’t we have students writing grants?  They can obtain skills by writing business plans and they will need those skills because it is competitive out there,” he stated and added, “It is an unbelievable brand we have here but we just need to sell it.”

Trustee Julie Austin said she would welcome input from West and Stewart and invited them to participate in their upcoming strategic planning meetings.

She suggested West come up with a presentation and breakdown of his numbers for the board to look at.

Superintendent Jim Ansell pointed out that bringing in more foreign students won’t solve their budget woes and in fact could create some other challenges.

“We have class size limits.  If we put more students in and go over class limits we have to justify that enrollment and then at some point have to start adding teachers,” he stated and added that to hire one teacher would cost $100,000.

He said it is a delicate balancing act.

“At some point if we double the size of program we wouldn’t double our income because we would have to hire teachers and that cuts into profit margin.  If we add a single teacher our profit drops.”

He said they just can’t open the gates and bring in hundreds of foreign students in a district this size for many reasons but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to expand the program.

“If there was a million dollars to be made on this we would not turn away from it.”

Ansell also pointed out that part of the success of their international program is based on the curriculum and the B.C. experience and if they change the dynamics of it they may lose foreign students.

“If we saturate the district with too many international students they will not get the Canadian experience that they came here for.”

He said language can be a challenge for international students and part of their education is to learn English.  He said if there are too many international students in one class they tend to stick together and then they don’t get immersed in the Canadian culture.

“The kids are in a foreign place and some don’t have language skills so it is natural for them to stick together,” he said.

He stressed that if there are too many international students in a class, their recruiting agents would get complaints from parents of foreign students and they would likely move them to another district for their education.

Austin said now is the time to look at new ideas including pursuing grants.

“It’s a great fit with our strategic plan and personalized learning,” she admitted and added the board will be looking into it.

 

 

Just Posted

Retired Nanoose Bay teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Country music star Aaron Pritchett back in Qualicum Beach to play benefit concert

Singer to headline Thalassa restaurant fundraiser for Ronald McDonald house

Qualicum school district sees utility costs go down

Capital funding opportunities promote clean energy and drive efficiencies

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read