Vancouver School Board budget review news round-up
After a tumultuous week of strained relations between the Vancouver School Board and the province, Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid got tough today, demanding that the VSB provide a draft budget by June 18th.
The demand came on the heels of a meeting between the minister and the Vancouver board Tuesday. There, Minister MacDiarmid turned down a request from the VSB trustees for emergency funding and described a meeting with the board as difficult and challenging. The VSB plans to vote on its final budget June 23.
A budget review commissioned in April by the provincial Ministry of Education found that the VSB can meet its projected budget shortfall, estimated at $11.8 million, by reducing administrative costs and closing five schools. The report by B.C. comptroller-general Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland also criticized the district's trustees as putting advocacy ahead of management commitments.
Bacchus insisted that the district's shortfall is actually $16 million. She said that many of the review's recommendations were already under consideration by the board, and criticized others as unrealistic. She said that the approximately $18 million in cuts proposed in a preliminary budget released in April were back on the table. B.C.Teachers' Federation President Irene Lanzinger said that the report was inadequate because it explicitly excluded the provincial funding model from its consideration. Minister MacDiarmid said that the province has the option of firing the board for mismanagement, though it was not planning to do so at present.
Read the comptroller-general's full report here.
Read the Vancouver School Board's preliminary budget from April here.