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Fee hikes for Central Okanagan school sports academies

Reflection of rising costs for Springvalley Middle, George Elliot Secondary programs

Fees will be increasing for some sports academy programs offered by Central Okanagan Public Schools next fall.

Following a pattern from last year, the cost to offer some of these programs is not being covered by existing fees.

Presented to the Central Okanagan Board of Education meeting Wednesday (May 9) for approval, were fee hikes for the outdoor education academy at Springvalley Middle, and both the hockey and soccer academies at École George Elliot Secondary.

The fee increases break down as follows:

• Outdoor education program at Springvalley Middle: increase from $225 to $300; partly due to additional outdoor multi-day field study added to program for the 2024-25 program; fee raise supported by Springvalley Middle Parent Advisory Council; when program was established in 2010 initial fee was established at $150

• Hockey academy at George Elliot Secondary: increase from $600 to $725; first increase since academy was established in 2009; supported by school PAC; reasons include raise in ice rental rates and RINK Hockey Academy on-ice instructor fees

• Soccer academy at École George Elliot Secondary: increase from $350 to $400; reasons include no fee raise since 2008, indoor soccer dome rental cost in Vernon, equipment replacement, instructor cost and no longer sponsorship from a local sporting goods store or Lake Country Soccer Association; supported by school PAC

The academy costs issues began to impact the overall costs last year, as several sports academies faced adjustments due to rising costs at Central Okanagan schools.

The debate, last year, had a few trustees concerned that ongoing fee increases could become prohibitive for some students to afford.

But these academies are an equity-based program and the school district is committed to providing access to students who cannot meet the fee costs.

As per Board Policy 425R, “a student will not be excluded from any education program due to financial hardship.”

Where there are financial challenges, parents are asked to contact their school principal directly.

Barry Gerding

About the Author: Barry Gerding

Senior regional reporter for Black Press Media in the Okanagan. I have been a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field for 37 years...
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