The Nanaimo school district will have to deal with an unexpected expense as it works its way toward finalizing its 2015-16 school budget.
On Tuesday, the district learned that on top of the approximately $275,000 it has budgeted for Next Generation Network Internet upgrades from the B.C. government, it will now owe approximately $434,000 more.
— Karl Yu (@KarlYuBulletin) May 6, 2015
The bill is something that came “out of the blue,” according to Steve Rae, school board chairman, and a reason why the school district should keep money in reserve.
“It’s another reason why we need to build safeguards into this system,” said Rae. “It was completely unexpected.”
According to the Ministry of Education, the Next Generation Network is an initiative that will modernize the current Provincial Learning Network, which provides high-speed Internet for students.
“It’s connectivity … It’s to create better bandwidth for schools, so better access,” said Graham Roberts, school district acting secretary-treasurer, of the upgrades.
The district is finalizing next year’s budget ahead of a provincial deadline of June 30.
In an e-mail, the Ministry of Education said that the upgrades are what school districts asked for and it has worked with and planned this implementation with school districts. A technical review committee, which includes the ministry and sector and district partners, recommended allocating costs of the network, the ministry said.