Hundreds of people packed a school gymnasium in Vancouver last night to voice their concerns over the Vancouver School Board plans to cut programs to deal with a budget shortfall of more than $13 million.
Board chair Patti Bacchus, says the VSB is considering several options to save money including giving students a week off in November, cutting elementary school music programs, sports coordinators, school counsellors, psychologists, speech language pathologists and multicultural workers.
"School districts across B.C. have had to make cuts in order to balance their budgets. Provincial funding has simply not kept pace," Bacchus told the assembly at Mount Pleasant Elementary School.
Monica Moberg, a member of the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council, says the province must step in.
"I'm getting phone calls from parents everyday saying this is not the way it was when I grew up. This is not the kind of education system that we're proud of. We want to keep it strong. We want to keep it healthy. The only way this is going to happen is if cuts are not made to programs," said Moberg.
Many parents have been particularly concerned about possible cuts to the elementary school music programs. Elka Yarlowe, with the Access to Music Foundation says music gives students with learning difficulties hope.
"It will rob them of a chance to explore new horizons to find their place in a very unfriendly world," says Yarlowe.
There will be two more public meetings held to discuss possible cuts, before the board votes on its budget on April 30.