The new School District 69 (Qualicum) Board of Education voted in support of expanding their International Student Program
They voted unanimously to “fully support the expansion of the International Student Program to enhance programs for all students” in the district.
The district currently has around 130 international students paying a premium that brings in additional funds.
With budget concerns over the last year there have been suggestions the program should be expanded to bring in more money.
Board chair Lynnette Kershaw said they were responding to the community and wanted to show they heard them.
She said there are no actual plans yet, but there are ongoing discussions and the board — with four of five members newly elected — will continue to look into the options in the new year.
Superintendent Jim Ansell said the resolution is mostly a message to the community about where the board is headed and it was good to leave it as open as possible.
“It was a really good thing to do, they haven’t tied our hands, they could have made things really complicated,” he said.
He pointed out the international program is unusually sensitive to global forces and districts have run into issues in the past, loosing a lot of students during the 2008 financial crisis for example.
He said the goal at this stage is to make sure they can get all the information the board will need to eventually make decisions.
Kershaw said they will be eager to share their ideas and ongoing information with the public as they get it but for now they just wanted to make their support clear.
During the meeting trustee Eve Flynn asked if they should include wording that the program not cost the district anything, but the trustees agreed they all had the same intention and wanted to leave it as open as possible.