Eliminate busing for our children or eliminate jobs?

Our School District’s 2016/2017 projected budget deficit increased from $650,000 to $950,000.

This week, all School District #20 employees received an email from our superintendent delineating another example of our government manipulating funding formulas to extract every possible penny from Boards of Education.

Our School District’s 2016/2017 projected budget deficit increased from $650,000 to $950,000 with the stroke of a pen and now we are being requested to complete a survey to potentially eliminate, or severely reduce, busing our children to save our jobs.

We have been asked to share what the Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union official position is with respect to eliminating or reducing busing.

We reiterate our repeated advise to our Board that we need trustees, parents, PACs, support staff, PVPs, senior management, students and teachers across this province to stand up to this government and demand adequate funding for public education in BC to at least the national average in Canada.

Our government’s spin on public education funding is that it has increased since 2002 but the fact is that the increase has not kept up with basic increases in costs and inflation and BC is now second to last in per student funding in Canada and is providing $1000 below the national average per student.

If our district received $1000 more per student in funding we would have almost $4.000,000 in additional revenue and our Board would not be forced into looking at reducing busing and surveying us requesting us to choose between eliminating or reducing busing our children or losing our jobs.

We need to, collectively, stand up to this government and let it know that it is time to follow the recommendations of its Legislative Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, which consists of a majority of government MLAs, for BC to adequately invest in public education so we can maintain busing for our children, restore smaller classes and provide the right education and support to meet the unique strengths and challenges of each of our students.

We believe we need to send this message, loud and clear, to our trustees and request them to submit a needs-based budget to our government that reflects what we actually need to maintain and increase our level of services to our students and stop any further erosion of the same!

Andrew M. Davidoff, President, Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union

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