IROQUOIS – Facility improvements made in recent years at schools in South Dundas was a topic of discussion at the Upper Canada District School Board’s Accommodation Review Committee 2a working meeting held January 26th.
“Boards must continue to use SCI funding on depreciable renewal expenditures in schools that are expected to remain open and operating for at least five years,” a Ministry of Education document regarding School Condition Improvement funds states.
“We have to be selective for spending,” Peter Bosch said at the meeting. “We do not always know the outcome of buildings.”
Bosch, manager of design and construction at UCDSB explained that facility improvements can come from different funding sources including School Renewal and the province’s School Condition Improvement fund. Bosch went on to explain that if [UCDSB] knows a school might close in five years, they won’t spend the capital on it. He later suggested it might be three years.
“There are different funding buckets,” said Bosch. “Among these buckets is the School Condition Improvement fund.” UCDSB documents regarding facility improvements dating back to the 2010-2011 school year identified the heating system at Morrisburg Public School as needing replacement.
Since identification, the boiler replacement project was listed in school board twice-monthly facilities reports given to school board trustees. The boiler replacement project at MPS started in September 2015. Replacing the boilers in the original MPS building cost $328,498, with an additional $10,000 for what was billed as a “major repair” to the school’s hydro pulse boilers and building issues with the boiler replacement. Additional work identified in the board report as funded under SCI funding was $10,000 for exterior wall repairs, $30,000 for heat generation systems in “Addition One” of the school, and $9,812 in roof repairs.
No improvements to Iroquois Public School were identified under the SCI program during the same period as the boiler replacement at MPS.
According to the School Information Profile for MPS, $1,080,405 was spent on facility improvements to the school between 2006 and 2016. Of that, $395,019 of that was funded in 2015 and 2016 by the School Condition Improvement program.
The SCI funding is a $500 million dollar fund from Ontario Ministry of Education, Capital Policy and Programs Branch. The fund has two targets: building components and systems; and, other needs. Eighty per cent of the SCI funding allotted to a board must be used for building components and systems. In the 2015-16 school year, the UCDSB was allocated $10,828,593 in SCI funding.