A week after the Vancouver School Board defeated a budget that would see $24-million in cuts to programs and positions, Its chair has met with the Minister of Education.
Mike Lombardi says Minister Mike Bernier has agreed to have senior staff from both sides meet to try and hammer out a compromise.
“And I think he felt very good about what we are doing and he was prepared to sit down and have his senior deputy minister meet with our senior staff to identify some solutions and ideas to resolve the budget situation in Vancouver.”
Before the vote there was tough talk on both sides, Lombardi saying he was willing to lose his job and Bernier warning the board to “do the right thing.”
Today, a more conciliatory tone.
“The minister shares our objective of having the best education system in the world, and acknowledging that we need to keep the world class education system that we have. He acknowledges that, he agrees with that, and he wants to work with us to see if we can make that happen.”
But when it came to the hard questions of whether the province would budge on new money or the board would bend to cuts, Lombari wouldn’t go into detail.
“We identified the challenge, and that’s that we have the level four cuts in our budget which have a direct impact on kids and we need to find a way to mitigate that because we want to keep our world class education system. He understands and appreciates it, he also reiterated his challenges in terms of other school districts.”
Lombardi says there’s no timeline for solutions — but he’s hoping staff can bring some new ideas to the board’s meeting next week on May 9th.
The VSB has until June 30th to turn in a balanced budget, or risk losing their jobs.