Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you learn more about the volunteer run Parent Support Group (PSG) at St. Jude School. We invite you to help us build this section of the website by emailing suggestions for additional questions.
What is the PSG?
PSG stands for Parent Support Group, a volunteer group of 3 or more St. Jude School parents or guardians who volunteer their time to apply for and administer provincial grant money that benefits our students. In public schools this group of volunteer parents is called a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) or District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC). At St. Jude this group is called a PSG to avoid confusing it with our Parish Education Committee also known as PEC.
What is the purpose of the grant money?
This grant is intended to benefit K-12 students in British Columbia through enhancement of extracurricular opportunities and community involvement.
How much money does the PSG receive every year?
Currently the PSG receives $20 per student. Our school generally has 225 students so the average annual grant is expected to be $4,500. The amount per student is subject to change.
What is the money used for at St. Jude?
Historically, this money has paid for school buses that transport students to and from classroom field trips, special events such as the regional Speech Arts Festival, track and field competitions, Grade 7 outdoor education. Funds have also been used for Grade 7 promotion ceremonies.
Who determines where the money goes and why do we need a PSG?
There are guidelines from the province that outline how this grant money can be used. The only way to apply for and receive this particular money from the province of BC is through the existence and running of an autonomous group whose membership consists of parents or guardians of students attending the school i.e. the Parent Support Group.
How can the grant money be spent?
There are three provincial government sources that provide guidelines for eligible and ineligible spending of the grant money:
PSG funding is intended to benefit students by enhancing their extra-curricular opportunities. Grant funds may be used to pay for goods and services used by students for, or primarily for, extra-curricular activities. PSG funding is intended to benefit students by enhancing their extracurricular opportunities, including for example:
- Student publications: newsletters, yearbooks;
- Student competitions: writing, debating, chess, music;
- Student computers: software, hardware, accessories;
- Student societies: drama club, student society;
- Student ceremonies: graduation, dry grad;
- Student conferences or educational field trips within BC;
- Uniforms and equipment for extracurricular activities;
- Sports or playground equipment;
- Awards and trophies;
- Scholarships and bursaries for post secondary education (paid directly to students);
- Capital acquisitions directly benefiting students, such as playground equipment;
- Student transportation and travel within BC; and
- With prior branch approval, student transportation and travel outside BC, where the student group:
-Is representing its school as a result of merit achieved through organized competition;
-Is competing in a sport that involves cross border travel;
-Has been selected because of its level of creative achievement or success;
-Is entered in a recognized competition in which there is a formal evaluation or adjudication process.
Grant funds may not be used to pay for goods or services used primarily by teachers to deliver curriculum or by students to complete curriculum requirements. Materials that are not required in the teaching or completion of curriculum but which assist in doing so, such as tablets, smart boards and other “enhanced educational” items, are not eligible for PSG funding. Ineligible uses of PSG gaming funds include the following:
- Curricular activities or purposes (for example, tablets and smart boards used in class);
- Disbursements outside of the province unless approved in advance in writing by the branch;
- Out-of-province travel, unless approved in advance by the branch;
- Out-of-province or out-of-country aid;
- Past debt, loan or interest payments;
- Sustaining or endowment funds; or
- Professional development of staff.
What exactly does the PSG do?
Every school year the PSG applies for grant money made available to parent support groups in BC. Throughout the school year, the PSG receives requests from school teachers and staff to use the funds in various ways to benefit the students. The PSG reviews requests, considers its budget and approves requests that meet the provincial eligibility requirements of the grant. As the grant recipient, the PSG administers and distributes the money and submits provincial reporting documents as a way to be accountable for the funds received.
Does the PSG report to or follow the direction of the Parish Education Committee (PEC)?
No, as required by the province’s Community Gaming Grant Guidelines, the PSG operates independently of the PEC. The PSG may consult with the PEC, school staff or the parent and student community, but it is required that the PSG retain management and control of the grant funds received by them. Gaming funds cannot be transferred to the school unless it is to reimburse a school for a purchase made on behalf of the PSG and at the PSG’s request.
Who are the members of the PSG?
For the current school year, the members are: Michelle Pante (Chair), Cindy Tran (Treasurer), and Anthonette Imperial (Secretary). Previous PSG members include: Adelaide Ferreira, Ann Fierro, Eleanor Tsu, Nancy Yuen, Becky Leung, Gary Barker, Ken Wong and others. If you are a former PSG member or you know of one not listed here, please send an email so we can acknowledge historic volunteers.
How can I join the PSG?
Parents or guardians of St. Jude students are welcome to join the PSG. A formal election process takes place in the Fall. Please contact the school office to express your interest in joining and a member of the PSG will contact you. If you are a member of the Parish Education Committee (PEC), you can cannot hold an executive position on the PSG because the government requires that there be no linkage between the parent group (PSG) and the authority of the school (PEC).
How is the executive of the PSG elected?
Each year, the PSG holds an Annual General Meeting to which all parents of the school are invited. At this meeting, the chairperson, treasurer and secretary are elected for a one-year term by those parents who attend the meeting. From that point onward, the affairs and functioning of the PSG are decided by this elected executive. At the AGM of the following year, the executive reports to the parents on the PSG’s function over the previous year. This report must include the financial statements (grants received, purchases made, balance in account) of the previous year.
Where does the money come from?
The money received by the PSG comes from the people of BC through gaming grants distributed by the provincial government, specifically from the Ministry of Finance’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. This government body regulates the gaming activity that takes place in the province and re-distributes some of the revenue earned from gaming activities such as major lotteries, horse racing, slot machines and table games in casinos, and local licensed gaming events such as 50/50 draws.
How can I learn more about the PSG?