British Columbia·Updated

Vancouver School Board approves 2013/14 budget

The Vancouver School Board has approved a balanced operating budget for the next school year, as school boards B.C. face a shortfall of $130 million.

The Vancouver School Board has approved a balanced operating budget for the next school year.

The decision came on Monday night, as school boards across B.C. struggle with a budget shortfall of $130 million.

Vancouver School Board itself is facing a deficit of $7.9 million.

VSB Chair Patti Bacchus said they will be able to balance the budget with small staff reductions, some reduced services, and a hold on spending.

But she says the cuts won't come at the expense of things such as continuing education.

"We heard resoundingly from the public that they wanted to try and keep those programs and try to make them at least break even," she said.

"So trusteess did agree to try and keep the continuing education program going for at least another year to see if some of the changes to the program – to streamline it and market it more effectively – can be more successful."

The plan does not involve major layoffs or major cuts to programs, but Bacchus says it is disappointing to have to face this issue every year.

She said the time has long past for a re-investment in education instead of annual cutting and trimming of services students deserve.

Bacchus said she hopes the upcoming provincial election will mark a turning point.

"I think the message we have is we can't keep doing this. I was disappointed to hear in the leaders' debate that education was a no show.

"I think we need to get it out there as an issue. The whole community needs to understand the value of a really strong public education system."

The B.C. School Trustees' Association said Monday it will call on the provincial government for more money after the election.