VSB approves budget, releases school closures list
Vancouver School Board (VSB) finalized its budget for next year - for better or for worse.
Better for putting an end to some of the fiery exchanges between the board and the Ministry of Education.
Worse for the teachers, Special Education Assistants, painters, and others occupying the 137 full time positions that have been cut for the 2010/2011 school year.
On June 23rd, the Vancouver School Board reluctantly signed off on a budget that saves about $17 million in the coming academic year. Band and strings programs, which were on the chopping block during the extensive public budget consultations, avoided being cut.
One of the biggest budget savings (about $1.15 million) was achieved through the suspension of interior painting in the schools for one year. In addition, the VSB reduced the number of district-level consultants, teachers, and mentors from 30 full-time positions to 19.6.
While school boards across the province say a lack of government funding is forcing them to cut programs and services next year, the VSB was singled out by the Minister of Education for a finance review by BC's Comptroller General in April. Wenezenki-Yolland's early-June report made several recommendations for improving the VSB's financial sustainability, including eliminating non-core services such as junior kindergarten, increasing facilities rental rates, and working with unions
to negotiate concessions.
The current budget does not include school closures as a cost-saving measure. But by releasing a School Closure Notification List on the same day as the budget approval, the VSB sent a clear message that it is looking toward more drastic budget-balancing measures in the future.
The schools being assessed for possible closure include:
- Bruce Elementary
- Carleton Elementary
- Champlain Heights Annex
- Collingwood Annex
- Dickens Annex
- Hudson Elementary
- Kerrisdale Annex
- Macdonald Elementary
- McBride Annex
- Queen Alexandra Elementary
- Seymour Elementary