Vancouver School Board "in limbo" as Ministry delays on budget review

VSB Chair Patti Bacchus speaks at the rally Tuesday afternoon. Photograph by Stepan Vdovine.

A provincially-ordered review of the Vancouver School Board's budget due Monday is missing in action and the Ministry of Education does not return calls, VSB Chair Patti Bacchus said at a rally Tuesday afternoon.

"This government has put the Vancouver school district in a very difficult position," she said, "We're in a state of limbo right now."

Bacchus said that though she has called the office of Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid repeatedly, she has only heard through the media that there have been delays.

She told CBC News in April that the Ministry similary did not inform the VSB about the budget review when it was first announced.

The rally, which drew about a hundred participants to the art gallery on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, also featured speakers from the provincial NDP and the city's COPE and Vision parties.

A group of secondary students led by Abdeslam Boubia organized it. Several other students also spoke at the rally, explaining the value of music programs and the impact the proposed cuts might have on aboriginal students.

"Who here is in elementary school and is planning to join strings or choir or band?" Eric Hamber Secondary student Kevin asked, to a show of hands.

"Well, that's probably not going to happen," his classmate Jonathan replied.

"We have not heard enough from the voices of students," Vancouver-Hastings MLA Shane Simpson said, "It is students who are most affected, it is student voices that need to be heard."

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