OP-ED: Support Grants Available for Students

NOTE: The following is an op-ed from Premier Stephen McNeil.

There is a great deal of work underway to focus on improving our classroom conditions for teachers, students and parents. As we move forward with the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions announced last week, we also want to continue to enhance the school experience for students across Nova Scotia.

Proms, graduations, drama, band, sports and other student competitions are all important aspects of the school experience, but these activities need financial support and fundraising is often key to their success.

We created Student Support Grants in 2013 to try and address fundraising pressures on families, parents and school communities, and to enhance experiences for our students. The objective of the grants is to allow school communities to tailor services and programming to create special student experiences, as well as improve student success.

This funding has been used for a wide range of activities including grad photo sitting fees, class trips, instrument rentals and guest speakers. It is also available to help with graduations and award banquets.

We remind all parents interested in accessing these grants to contact their child’s principal. Last month an additional $3.4 million was put into the grant program to benefit students directly. School principals have the authority to draw on these funds to support activities in their schools.

Since the 2014-15 school year, approximately $2.1 million dollars has been allocated to school boards each year. These funds are allocated to all schools in the province with a base amount of $5,000 per school, plus $1.00 for every student enrolled in that school. The additional $3.4 million has been allocated on a per student basis.

Any portion of the additional money added this year, that isn’t spent before the end of the school year, will be carried over. This will be in addition to what has already been allocated for the 2017-18 school year.

We understand there are parents volunteering across this province to ensure students don’t miss out on the school activities that make their school year so special. We want to help you do that. Student Support Grants are available to help fund many school initiatives. We encourage you to talk to your school principal about accessing the money available.

On behalf of all Nova Scotians I want to acknowledge the many ways in which you continue to get involved in your school communities in order to create the richest, most enjoyable school experience for all students.

Thanks also to the many classroom teachers, students and parents who put their names forward for the recently formed Council to Improve Classroom Conditions. We appreciate your desire to take part in shaping the future of our classrooms. We are excited to hear the ideas and solutions you will bring to the table. Together, with your experience and insight, we will improve our classrooms to ensure the best learning environments for teachers and students.

For more information on Student Support Grants visit www.ednet.ns.ca/student-support-grants.