Hundreds of people have packed into the gymnasium at Vancouver Technical Secondary school for the first night of public consultations on the Vancouver School Board’s preliminary budget, as trustees work to eliminate a $24-million budget shortfall.
30 delegations are making their cases to the Vancouver school board urging trustees not to make cuts to teacher librarians, music, and mini schools programs.
Parents of gifted students and their children are also advocating against proposed cuts to gifted programs and teachers.
One of the more hotly contested potential cuts is to the school band and strings program.
Grade 12 flutist Shannon McLaren says it changed her life.
“I’ve really found my place in the music program at Tech, and without the elementary band and strings program, I probably wouldn’t have even gone to this school.”
Parent Tina Teeninga says she came out to fight against scrapping the Home Learner’s program, which she credits with saving her child who suffers from separation anxiety.
“About an hour and a half before school began is when she would begin to cry.”
“When she pleaded with me in her school washroom as she was being sick, mommy stay with me, there is nothing more I wanted to do. My daughter has been a part of the home learner’s program this year from grade 1 and it has really really worked for us.”
This is one of three public meetings this week before the board makes its final budget decisions on April 28th.