A young student addressed the Board of Education Trustees at the SD62 meeting in Langford, where they ultimately passed a budget that approved $1.7 million in cuts.
This student, still a child herself, was an elementary-aged student accessing the Choices Program. This is one of the programs that SD62 plans to cut in September, along with its Elements Program for older children. This child spoke to the Board about how Choices had helped her find her way, providing the support she needed when she was “struggling with my emotions.”
“I even made a friend,” said this student, noting her achievements. The Choices program helped her: she is now in a gifted program in a regular community school.
SD62 has passed a 2016/2017 budget that will force the District to cut $1.7 million out of its 2015/2016 budget. The proposed cuts affect the most vulnerable students. In addition to eliminating Choices and Elements, SD62 is reducing the number of speech language specialists, counselors and librarians.
“We have no choice or we will be fired,” said Board Chair Bob Phillips. This is in reference to the BC School Act that requires school boards to pass balanced budgets. Since schools have little opportunity to generate income, they are solely dependent on government funding. If a school board does not pass a balanced budget, the government can (and will) fire the board, as they did with the Cowichan Board of Education in 2012.
For a breakdown of current cuts and how they will impact education programs, refer to this early SPN article: SD62 budget shortfalls addressed through cuts, published on May 7, 2016.
- Management = 13%, $214,000
- Support Staff = 24%, $405,000
- Teachers = 63%, $1.1 million
1. Management = $456,000
- Remove Vice Principal
- Remove District Principal
- Reduce Speech & Language Pathologist Services
2. Support Staff = $405,000
- Youth & Family Counsellors
- Education Assistants
- IT Support
3. Teachers = $816,000
- Curriculum Coordination
- Deaf & Hard of Hearing
- Hospital & Home Bound Support
- Non-enrolling school-based staff
According to FACEBC (“Families Against Cuts to Education), there are 31 BC School Boards facing similar cuts, for a total shortfall of $85.28 million:
- SD 8, Kootenay Lake, $300,000 shortfall.
- SD 20, Kootenay-Columbia: $750,000 shortfall.
- SD 23, Central Okanagan: $3.2 million shortfall.
- SD 27, Cariboo-Chilcotin: $600,000 shortfall.
- SD 28, Quesnel: $1.4 million shortfall (combined 2015/16 & 2016/17).
- SD 33, Chilliwack: $1.45 million shortfall.
- SD 34, Abbotsford: $4 million shortfall.
- SD 36, Surrey: $4 million shortfall.
- SD 37, Delta: $3.38 million shortfall.
- SD 38, Richmond: $4.2 million shortfall.
- SD 39, Vancouver: $24 million shortfall.
- SD 40, New Westminster: $250,000 shortfall.
- SD 41, Burnaby: $4.5 million shortfall.
- SD 42, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows: $340,000 shortfall.
- New SD 48, Sea to Sky: $633,000 shortfall
- SD 51, Boundary: $534,000 shortfall.
- SD 52, Prince Rupert: $1.9 million shortfall.
- SD 53, Okanagan Similkameen: $1.1 million shortfall.
- SD 54, Bulkley Valley: $680,000 shortfall.
- SD 57, Prince George: $3.3 million shortfall.
- SD 58, Nicola Similkameen: $1.35 million shortfall.
- SD 61, Victoria: $6.9 million shortfall.
- SD 62, Sooke: $1.7 million shortfall (revised at SPN, from $1.6).
- SD 63, Saanich: $1.2 million shortfall.
- SD 67, Okanagan Skaha: $1.025 million shortfall this year, with further reductions of at least $750,000 every year after that.
- SD 68, Nanaimo-Ladysmith: $850,000 shortfall.
- SD 71, Comox Valley: $2.876 million shortfall.
- SD 72, Campbell River: $900,000 shortfall.
- SD 73, Kamloops-Thompson: $2.45 million shortfall.
- SD 79, Cowichan Valley: $3.7 million shortfall.
- SD 83, North Okanagan-Shuswap: $1.9 million shortfall.
FACEBC suggests making public education fund “an issue in the 2017 provincial election. Ask all the candidates in your riding what they will do to address the underfunding of public education. Push all the parties to make education a priority again. Here are some questions you can ask.”
- Improved student transportation services for Sooke families
- Sooke school bus registration information and refund update
- SD62 school bus fees eliminated for this school year
- Have you prepaid your Sooke school bus fees? If so, you may get a refund
- Sooke School District to receive $358,365 to help with transportation costs
- John Horgan statement regarding B.C. education announcement
- $1.7 million in cuts to Sooke school budget; $450,041 handed back
- Education cuts will hurt the most vulnerable
- OpEd: SD62 Board of Education stuck between a rock and a hard place
- BC Gov injects funds to fix EMCS roof
- LETTER: Reform is required if we value education
- Updates on the cuts to education, Sooke District 62
- SD62 budget shortfalls addressed through cuts
- SD62 announces student bus fee increase