Opinion Editorial, by Neil Poirier, Trustee SD62, Sooke
At our last board meeting the Board of Education for SD62 had the second and third reading of the 2016-2017 budget. Like every other school district in the province we were in a deficit situation.
Since we had discussed this situation with our partner groups as part of the budget process, the staff and programs that were being cut were forewarned. So, the meeting was well attended with people hoping to save programs that had served their children well.
One young lady in particular spoke articulately in defense of a program, which she felt was responsible for keeping her in school. This of course doesn’t make the job any easier, but how do you decide which child you are going to hurt?
I think everybody present understood this, but that doesn’t help.
One frustrated person suggested the board should send a deficit budget to the government despite the fact that the School Act of BC requires us to give a balanced budget. The result of this would be the dismissal of the board. The Cowichan district did this a few years ago and was fired, a good political protest which generated almost no news and far worse results for the students. The Trustees were replaced by an appointed Trustee whose job was to balance the budget. The results were brutal: schools were closed and programs were cut.
So what is the answer?
Every election the parties do polls to find out how to win your vote. The last few elections the public spoke load and clear, our priorities are education and health care. The parties tell us the future is rosy and their priorities are education and health care. Then once elected they cut education and health care.
Had enough yet?
For the details of the budget you can visit the districts web page at, http://www.sd62.bc.ca/board-of-education/public-meetings/201617-budget-series/.
Trustee SD62, Sooke
Cowichan school board, as referenced in the OpEd above
- B.C. school board fired for refusing to balance budget July 2, 2012
- Democracy suspended in School District 79, date unknown
- Cowichan district to close six schools and charge students $200 a year to ride buses, May 16, 2013
Related Sooke PocketNews articles
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- 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