School board faced with another bill

Province wipes its hands of insurance premiums

Funding continues to plague B.C. educators, even more so after an additional financial burden was downloaded from the province onto school boards last month.

The Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 passed its budget in April and after making cuts to meet rigorous demands of the Ministry of Education, the provincial government hit them with another expense.

School boards will now have to cover their own insurance premiums, an expense once shared with the province.

The government previously provided school districts with liability coverage as well as replacement of facility and asset losses through a self-insurance School Protection Program.

The Ministry paid for coverage for loss of assets between $3,000 and $1.5 million through its operating budget and school districts paid for liability insurance.

The Ministry informed the school boards that, as of July 1, they will now have to cover $3 million in premiums based on a percentage of each district’s current estimated building replacement value. In addition, the deductible will increase from $3,000 to $10,000 and will only cover claims up to $250,000.

For SD20 it means cutting its budget even more to account for the premiums and deductible, something that is an obvious concern for trustees.

“We only got the letter on May 11, we had already passed our budget, now we’re going to have to look at approximately $40,000 more,” said trustee Bev Maloff at SD 20’s board meeting Monday. “We need communication and we need collaboration.”

The lack of any warning, consultation or input from school districts has many boards characterizing the unilateral move as heavy handed and irresponsible when school districts have already endured millions in budget cuts.

“What really bothers me is that they can spend $600 million on a roof for B.C. Place and they can spend $1 million on advertising for HST and yet we are struggling to have to find $40,000,” said Maloff.

SD20’s share, based on close to $180 million in facilities replacement cost, will be about $30,000 coupled with the eventual $10,000 deductible.

In response the district passed a motion to send an urgent letter to the Ministry of Education to “rescind the Ministry’s sudden decision to shift school building insurance premiums previously paid by the government to local boards of education and the decision to increase the deductible for property loss.”

At the end of the session, Kootenay-Columbia Teachers Union president Andy Davidoff commended the board’s actions and requested they include information from KCTU on educational under funding.

“This board is wrestling with scrambling for funding so I’m glad to see the board is prepared to write letters to the Minister as have many boards,” said Davidoff.

Although the province is claiming the highest education funding ever, the cost per pupil has increased four or five times what the province’s funding has increased, he added.

“So we are asking that this board in their letter please point out to the minister that there is a chronic under funding . . . and that even the secretary-treasurers in the province have published a report that says we need $300 million in education today to meet the shortfall, just to meet the status quo for one year.”

Just Posted

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Most Read