Sooke School District will face a $2 million drop in funding due to lack of international students planning to attend this fall. In a usual year, the school district sees around 300 international students, this fall there are about 60 planning to come. (Twitter/Scott Stinson)

Sooke School District loses $2 million due to lack of international students

Loss of funding not expected to affect classrooms, thanks to reserve funds

The Sooke School District is taking a considerable hit to its budget due to lack of international students attending class this fall.

School district board Ravi Parmar said the district expects to lose about $2 million in funding. The international program is anticipating around 60 students to attend the new school term.

“We will still run the program in the fall, so long as we are able to meet the guidelines set by health authorities, and ensure the students are able to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive,” said Parmar. “But we are still working on the details and gathering information.”

Schools superintendent Scott Stinson said the 60 students planning to return are made up of 25 who are already here and will stay through summer, and 35 who have existing study visas and documentation in place, and will return as long as they are able to travel.

In previous years, the program generally sees between 280 and 300 students from all over the world, bringing in around $6 million in funding to the school district.

Parmar said $4 million goes towards running the program, but the other $2 million goes directly towards supplementing classrooms.

“It is unfortunate to lose that funding but we are thankful to have a rainy day fund to get through this,” said Parmar. “We are being cautious looking in to the future, but we are also optimistic.”

ALSO READ: Sooke Region Museum reopens to visitors

The school district has an approximate $149-million budget, and Stinson said nothing had to be cut from it for this fall, thanks to the reserved fund.

“What we have done this year is limit our expenditures, and put as much funding aside as possible. We believe we will be able to get through next year without any reductions,” he said. “We just want to bridge this year and then as time goes on we will make more decisions on how to manage financially.”

Stinson said he is slightly concerned with all of the unknowns, as it makes planning for the future difficult, but noted staff throughout the school district has been “amazingly resilient,” and students, families have been “particularly good at being flexible to change.”

“We are planning for a variety of contingencies in terms of what things could look like in the fall, and we have to be ready and prepared for whatever comes,” said Stinson.

Parmar said that over the years, the international exchange student program has become extremely diverse, and he hopes that things will pick up again in 2021.

“The international department has done a great job in recruiting,” said Parmar. “Students are not just coming for academic reasons, but also for art and recreation, and it certainly has put us on the map for opportunity.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

SchoolsSD62Sooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria police looking for information after man assaulted with weapon

VicPD called to Centennial Square after man found with potentially life-threatening injuries

Oak Bay officer injured while breaking up party

Party-goers yell ‘f*** the blue,’ say police

Renowned Greater Victoria hockey player back to help with female youth teams

Micah Zandee-Hart has played for the senior national team since 2016

Saanich parking ticket payments currently ‘voluntary,’ staff look at new enforcement process

Current system a waste of resources, missed revenue opportunity, councillor says

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

Indigenous B.C. tour operator keeps culture alive through virtual journeys in COVID-19 era

Campbell River based Homalco Tours is also setting up live cameras for bear viewing in Orford

Broadway veteran Nick Cordero dies from coronavirus complications

During Cordero’s hospitalization, Kloots sent him daily videos of her and their 1-year-old son, Elvis,

Northern communities welcome tourists as province opens to in-B.C. travellers

Officials have asked British Columbians to be careful as they travel this summer

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Most Read