School trustees to pressure government for funding
B.C. school boards struggle with total budget shortfall of $130 million
The B.C. School Trustees' Association says it will call on the provincial government for more money after the election, as school boards across the province struggle with a budget shortfall of $130 million.
The trustees voted unanimously at its annual general meeting this weekend to ask whichever government is elected on May 14 to re-open the issue of school funding.
School boards are required by law to have balanced budgets, but Teresa Rezansoff, the newly-elected BCSTA president, says they are faced with wage increases and other rising costs.
"We'd like to see a commitment to sustainable, predictable funding that covers those annual cost pressures that are there," said Rezansoff.
"There is no better investment you can make than in our future citizens and it should be an absolute top priority for any government," she added.
The Vancouver School Board, which votes on next year’s budget on Monday night, is faced with an $8 million shortfall.
As a result, the board has decided to scrap its continuing education program and have another two-week spring break next year.
But parents say the time off means extra child care costs, adding to increasing fees and fundraising demands schools already places on families.
"It’s a direct hit to the children and to the low income families," said parent Iraj Khabazian.
Last Week, the Coquitlam School Board took the drastic measure of cutting more than 140 jobs, after announcing a potential deficit of more than $7.5 million.
With files from the CBC’s Kirk Williams