School district business company slowly building

Seeing 'what we can do with it'

SYLVIE PAILLARD / Kamloops Daily News
February 18, 2013 01:00 AM

The Kamloops-Thompson School District is working on building its business company and that's a boon for local educators.

The district's business company was formed in 2010 to provide online education primarily to offshore students.

After last fall's acquisition of the free provincial online education service Learn Now B.C., the school district moved the tutorial portion to Kamloops.

That meant hiring and training 11 Thompson Rivers University students to tutor online learners five nights a week as well as one supervising teacher, said district Supt. Terry Sullivan.

"We thought we could upgrade it so it could work more efficiently," said Sullivan.

The province pays $2.1 million annually to run the service and the business school has until 2015 "to see what we can do with it," said Sullivan. Then either party can end the arrangement.

"There's no real profit in it for us at this point," he said.

"We've just been proceeding very slowly and very cautiously and the reason for that is we haven't put any taxpayers' money in it. As we make any money, then we immediately put it back into the company."

From April 2012 to January 2013, the company grossed $150,000.

That's leaps and bounds from the 2011-12 fiscal year, which was presented in an auditor's report during the company's annual general meeting on Thursday.

It showed a modest increase of activity from the previous year with $48,000 paid out for contract teachers and $15,754 in retained earnings by year end.

A total of 125,000 B.C. students use the Learn Now B.C. while the number of international students mainly from India, Egypt and China, has risen by about a third to about 300.

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