Parents, grandparents and all those in our community who value public education, you are needed now more than ever before. Recently attending my first Board of Education meeting in 17 years, this time as a curious grandparent, I was struck by how unfair it is that cuts to our public schools continues to be on the agenda. It makes me very angry to see the energy and expertise of district administration (a very limited number of individuals) having to find proposed solutions to underfunding, such as an alternative instructional week and yet more school closures. We can be assured they would much prefer to focus on supporting student learning and enhancing services. We must be careful not to direct our anger at all the people who are dedicated to our children.
The school district will soon begin the budget process for 2016-17. As recent newspaper headlines have indicated, our district is facing a proposed budget shortfall. There are several reasons for that. One outstanding factor is an anticipated drop in enrolment by 143 students. This translates to a considerable loss of per student funding to our district. Ultimately, the challenge for our elected Board of Education will be how to protect services and programs which support the other 8,000-plus children who deserve and will need that commitment, especially in these changing times. The education partner groups will be part of the consultation process and there is also a role for the public.
Our public schools are integral to our community and our ability to attract young families. Please visit the school district website: www.sd71.bc.ca, where you will learn valuable information about all aspects of our district, including how it is funded. “Walk’’ through the budget information by clicking on: District News Feb 24, 2016-17 Preliminary Budget Challenges.
If you have further questions or informed comments reach out to the elected school trustee for your area.
A respectful conversation about the value of our public schools is necessary and crucial, now more than ever before. Our community’s children are the future and how they are supported will affect us all.