So as usual, I completely disagree with everything Rose Calderon said in her Letter to the Editor (Budget sign of the Times, May 28th). But I want to focus on one thing that particularly bugs me.
The Cowichan School Board last week submitted a budget that runs a deficit, calling it a “restoration” deficit that returns what’s been relentlessly cut over the years – things like teacher-librarian time, intensive behaviour teachers and such.
Rose doesn’t like this sort of behaviour. In her words these people “have a mandate; one which they accepted when they were elected.” It’s true – their orders are clear: they are to take the shrinking pots of money they’re given and run a balanced budget.
Instead they decided they could not in good conscience continue to cut, knowing full well it could mean their jobs.
See, I would take that as an act of bravery.
Surely even Rose would agree with me that if the cuts are too drastic the Trustees need to stand up and say they can’t properly educate their kids with what they’ve been given.
To take an extreme example, if Cowichan had their budget cut down to 10%, surely it would be the Board’s duty not to just follow orders and start slashing.
The principle is clear: if the cuts are bad enough the Board has a duty to risk its employment to say enough is enough.
The only argument is over when the cuts are bad enough. And I don’t think any of us here knows Cowichan well enough to judge their decision.
All I know is that I respect people that make that kind of selfless call.
And if enough trustees across the province made the same kind of stand it might actually make a difference.