Program profit tops $.5M

Review of Parksville Qualicum Beach school district's International Student Program should be ready for public in September

School district staff and trustees continue to take a long, hard look at their International Student Program (ISP).

At their regular board meeting last week, School District 69 trustees approved the terms of reference for a review of the program that will be done internally, after it was decided an external investigation would have been cost prohibitive.

The board also received a presentation from Acting Superintendent Rollie Koop supplying some facts, figures and public input, the latter obtained through a series of public meetings and surveys.

There were 137 international students in the district during the just-completed school year. This puts District 69 20th among school districts in B.C., but sixth when it’s calculated as a percentage of the total student population (3.2 per cent).

The local school district, more than $2 million in the hole, also had a look at the revenue generated by the ISP. Based on its preliminary budget, the district expects the ISP will contribute $542,647 to the general budget in 2013-14 after making $400,000 in 2012-13.

“It has been a revenue generator right from the beginning,” Koop said in an interview Friday.

Koop’s presentation also estimated the local economic impact of international students to be $3.4 million in 2012-13.

Now that the terms of reference have been determined, Koop said he expects the review of the program will be ready for the public’s eyes in September.