School board faces $100,000+ funding cut courtesy of Victoria

By David F. Rooney
Reveklstoke’s School District 19 has to find ways to whittle $59,150 from its 2015/16 school year budget and pare an additional $56,000 in 2016/17.
“There is no question we’re going to have to make budget decisions that are going to impact children in the classroom,” SD 19 Chairman Alan Chell said during the board’s meeting last Tuesday, March 24. “We believe the provincial government is being disingenuous when it makes comments like we can make cuts in administration and in services.”
The Ministry of Education is coyly calling this cut “an administrative savings target.”
Chell said that in the case of SD19, administrative costs are already about as lean as they get.
In a report to the board Secretary Treasurer Bruce Tisdale said the district is facing “significant cost pressures.” Examples of these include:

  • Utility rate increases;
  • The full cost of wage increase for teachers and support staff;
  • Increases to benefit premiums such as the MSP, Canada Pension and WorkSafe;
  • Implementation of the New Generation Network;
  • A reduction in grants due to the loss of funding protection; and
  • An increase in teachers’ salary increments.

The board has had a telephone conference call with MLA Norm Macdonald to discuss these developments. The Ministry of Education had allocated $9,776,797 to the district for the full 2015/16 school year. However, the mandatory cut lowers that to $9,717,647.
“We have a lot of concerns,” Chell said, adding that the district’s budget committee — Secretary Treasurer Bruce Tisdale, Superintendent Mike Hooker, District Vice-Principal for Technology Michael Haworth, all four school principals and RTA President Jennifer Wolney, as well as CUPE President Clara Maltby — are to meet to deal with this financial challenge. (You can see Chell’s comments on the SD 19 board video below. If you activate the YouTube player Chell’s comments are at the 50-minute mark.)
Please click here to learn more about the Ministry of Education’s funding allocation system.