A plan to provide Grade 7 and 10 students new laptops every year has been cancelled by School District 8. Photo: Shutterstock

A plan to provide Grade 7 and 10 students new laptops every year has been cancelled by School District 8. Photo: Shutterstock

Laptop program cut by School District 8 in new budget

The ambitious plan was to provide Grade 7 and 10 students their own equipment

School District 8 is pressing delete on an initiative to provide students with new laptops.

The $750,000 program, which was introduced in February 2021, would have provided every Grade 7 and 10 student in the district with a new laptop.

But the plan has now been scrapped due to budget cuts. The district’s 2022-2023 budget shows a loss of $899,027 in provincial funding due to a projected one per cent enrolment drop for the next academic year.

The Ministry of Education is also ending its COVID-19 Restart funding, which provided SD8 with $211,533.

Superintendent Trish Smillie said those cuts led to a reconsideration of the laptop program.

“I think, overall, the philosophy of the program and the intention of the program had very solid roots. It had support definitely from some people and it wasn’t supported by other people,” said Smillie.

“At this time, it’s just a program that isn’t central to the services that we need to be providing for students in the next coming years.”

Last year, the district bought 750 laptops for its students, who would have kept them for three years before either receiving a replacement or graduating.

The eventual plan was to equip every student from Grades 7 to 12 with their own laptop.

The laptops that were already purchased will be redistributed within schools.

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@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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