Budget Cuts Regretfully Approved by Board of Education

Last night the Vancouver’s Board of Education trustees approved two 2009/10 operating budgets — a “compliance” budget containing $7.12 million in spending reductions, and a “needs” budget outlining what the board believes it needs to meet the district’s needs.

“It is with regret and under duress that this board approved the reductions in order to balance our compliance budget within our provincially allocated funding, as we are legally required to do,” said Vancouver Board of Education Chairperson Patti Bacchus.

The budget approvals followed a month-long consultation process during which trustees invited stakeholders and the public to provide advice and feedback on budget priorities and staff proposals during public meetings.

“We are very grateful to the employee groups, parents, students and community members who participated in the process and provided valuable and passionate input,” added Bacchus. “The clear message is that any cuts will be harmful and we can not continue to erode our public school system through chronic underfunding.

“We also appreciate the incredibly hard work done by our district staff in developing and revising the budget. It is a difficult and stressful process and they have worked tirelessly to support trustees in coming up with the final version.”

The Board has renewed its efforts to advocate for increased provincial funding. The approved needs budget asks for a restoration to 2001/02 funding levels, which would mean a minimal increase to annual operating funding of $40 million.

School districts throughout the province are also reporting significant budget shortfalls for 2009/10.

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