The Vancouver school district could lose more than 200 jobs in order to balance its budget.
A report by staff calls for 167 full-time jobs to be cut to balance the budget and another 35 jobs to be lost due to declining enrollment.
The board is facing it’s biggest budget shortfall ever in the amount of $27-million.
In addition to staffing cuts, some of the other proposals to cut spending are making secondary school non-exempt classes bigger by removing a cap of 30 students, and cutting support workers for special needs students.
No permanent teachers will be laid off, but they could be moved to different schools.
Many of the proposals have been floated in previous years and rejected.
Click to see key budget details
“Very sad day”
School Board Chair Mike Lombardi took to Facebook this morning, calling it a “Very sad day.”
He says there’s no room to move on the multi-million dollar figure.
Lombardi says just 2 weeks ago another $3.1 million dollars were added onto the shortfall.
“We need stability, you know, we have a good system, we want to keep it that way but every time it’s made unstable or more downloading it creates problems for us.”
Lombardi says an example of the “instability” was the recent installation of Wi-Fi in schools, he says the Ministry reneged on paying for it after it was installed.
He adds a shortfall makes no sense if B.C. is doing so well economically.
He says the Vancouver school board, like other boards in the province, has faced significant funding shortfalls over the past decade.
LISTEN: to the full interview with Mike Lombardi on the Simi Sara Show
No sympathy from B.C. Education Minister
But BC’s Education Minister is firing back, accusing the Vancouver School Board of not properly managing its books.
Education Minister Mike Bernier says the Vancouver School Board is failing to deal with the issue of under-capacity schools and enrolment continues to decline.
“The audit that was done showed that that’s about $37-million a year that is being wasted that could be spent, that is still money going to the Vancouver School Board, that’s money that could be spent on other schools and other programming and help basically with the education in other schools.”
Bernier says since 2009/10 school year the VSB has predicted deficits – yet in the same time period its ended up growing its surplus by almost $17 million.
The VSB also received an $2 million this year in “funding protection” to help them deal with declining enrollment.
Not the first time budget shortfalls of this magnitude have slammed VSB
The last time the Vancouver School Board faced a deficit of this magnitude was in 2002, when a $25-million dollar deficit was announced.
The School Board had to lay off 364 teachers to balance the budget.
13,000 letters were dropped off at the office of then Education Minister, Christy Clark, from concerned residents about the cuts to public education.
More than 700 parents also met with the School Board to protest the cuts.
A public presentation of proposals is scheduled for 5:30 pm Tuesday.