VSB's lone Green Party trustee could hold swing vote in budget decision
Trustees vote Thursday on whether to approve a balanced budget which would see $24M in cuts
Vancouver School Board's lone Green Party trustee could hold the swing vote as trustees vote tonight on the district's proposed budget cut.
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The board — which is evenly divided between Vision Vancouver and NPA trustees — will have to vote on whether they are in favour of the proposed budget, which includes $24 million in cuts to programs and teaching positions.
"It's a very difficult decision," said Janet Fraser, Vancouver School Board Green Party trustee.
The cuts will impact special education, the elementary band and strings program and will mean doing away with more than 200 jobs to make up for the largest budget shortfall the board has ever faced.
Lesser of two evils
"If we vote to approve a balanced budget with $24 million in cuts, there will be those cuts."
"If we don't approve that budget we will be dismissed as a board and an official trustee will be appointed by the minister and then they will balance the budget," she predicts.
Fraser said that would mean locally elected trustees will not be in control of the school district.
Teachers and parents are pushing for a vote against the cuts.
Vancouver School Board chair and Vision trustee Mike Lombardi has said he plans to vote 'no' in protest.
Fraser said that may be better in the long-run for students.
"If we do make a protest vote, I would like to think people would think more about education in the next provincial election," she said.
With files from the CBC's The Early Edition and Catherine Rolfsen.
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