Tough talk from BC’s Minister of Education as school districts across the province are required to submit balanced budgets by next Thursday’s deadline.
There is no Board-approved 2016-17 operating budget in place in Vancouver.
In April, trustees rejected a balanced budget containing $24-million in cuts.
But Education Minister Mike Bernier says the VSB is expected to follow legislation.
“It’s their legislative responsibility. I would assume and hope that anyone who puts their name forward to be a school trustees understands that role when they go in, respects that role. More importantly I’d say to the Vancouver School Board hopefully they respect the decision-making and the roles of every other school trustee in the province whose been doing a great job.”
Although trustees have not approved the budget, the superintendent is required by law to implement the proposed cuts, unless trustees go back to the drawing board before the June 30th deadline.
On May 31, 2016 the Ministry of Education announced budget relief totalling $25 million to be shared by school districts around the province.
Vancouver’s share of the additional funding is approximately $2.25-million, reducing its budget shortfall to $21.8-million.
The reduced shortfall allowed amendments to staff budget proposals to reinstate some positions.
Positions retained at Vancouver Schools due to return of administrative savings to school boards:
- 10 School Based Office support positions
- 7.14 Secondary Teaching Staff
- 5 Special Education Support workers
- 2 Elementary Teachers
- 2 School-Based Vice-Principals
- .8 Gifted Teacher Mentor
- 1 District-based Gifted staff
- 1 Enhanced Services Literacy Teacher
- 1 Multicultural Liaison Worker
- 1 Career Information Assistant
Point of no return
But the VSB is poised to defy the law and refuse to submit a balanced budget by next week’s deadline.
Chair Mike Lombardi says trustees held their last board meeting of the school year last night with no plans to retreat.
Asked what it would take for the board to reconsider passing an operating budget which includes almost $22-million in cuts, Lombardi had this to say:
“That would take a trustee who voted against the budget proposals on April 28th would have to move a motion of reconsider and that would be voted on by the board and if that was going to go through than the budget proposals could be put back on the table, but to date none of the trustees who voted against the budget have advised me of any interest in doing so.”
If the board fails to pass a balanced budget by June 30th, the Minister of Education has the power to fire them.