Vancouver School Board grapples with possible school closures and program cuts

Vancouver School Trustee Mike Lombardi in a photograph from his Facebook page.

 At a meeting of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) last night, trustees agreed to seek clarification from the Minister of Education about whether a $17.23 million shortfall in funds will result in school closures in the 2010-2011 academic year.

A budget update from the District Management team indicated that the budget shortfall for 2010/2011 will be $17.23 million, school trustee Mike Lombardi told the Vancouver Observer late last night, not the $11.79 million that the report of the special advisor indicated.

"Our professional staff disagrees with the way the special advisor calculated the shortfall," Lombardi said.

Following the committee meeting the Board convened a special VSB meeting and decided:

1. THAT THE BOARD OF EDUCATION FOR SCHOOL DISTRICT #39:

a. Direct the District Management team to develop a balanced budget that:

i. takes full consideration of the recommendations directed to the Vancouver Board of Education set out in the Office of the Comptroller General’s June 2010 “Report on The Vancouver School Board (School District 39)”; and
ii. is drafted with the best interests of students, student achievement and parents as the paramount considerations; and

b. On or before June 18, 2010, submit the draft budget to the Minister for her review prior to that budget being voted on by the Vancouver Board of Education.

2. A motion requesting the Minister to confirm that the projected VSB 10-11 shortfall is the the figure recommended by VSB staff.

3. A motion requesting the Minister to clarify non core and core services for budget development purposes.

4. A motion seeking clarification from the Minister about whether she expects some VSB schools to be closed effective September 2010.

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