Boards want clarity on admin funding cut

Chilliwack school board unsure how provincial budget announcement will affect local schools

  • Feb. 20, 2015 5:00 a.m.

School district officials say they are looking into how a provincial budget cut will affect Chilliwack schools.

On Tuesday, the province announced that boards of education would be required to reduce spending on administration and related services by a total of $29 million next year, and $25 million the following year. The imposed reduction was deemed “unacceptable” by the B.C. School Trustees Association, a sentiment echoed locally.

“It is unacceptable that the dollars saved by school districts will not be retained to address needs in our schools,” said BCSTA president Teresa Rezansoff.  “We understand the importance of cost saving measures such as shared services, but they must not be used to take money away from Boards of Education.”

Chilliwack’s school board secretary treasurer, Gerry Slykhuis, said the cut in funding would make things even harder for the cash-strapped district. But it will take some time to figure out how the schools will be affected, he said.

“We have very little detail on this at this point, so it is difficult to assess it,” Slykhuis said. “However it is dismaying for districts that have worked so hard to reduce administrative costs and to balance their budgets, to now be asked to cut even further. Our district is already struggling to balance the budget for next year.”

The BCSTA will be working on finding clarification from the government over the next few weeks, Rezansoff stated in a press release.

“It is clear the new provincial education budget will mean further cuts in school districts across the province,” said Rezansoff. “The money allocated in the 2015/16 provincial budget for public education simply will not cover our increasing costs, and now we are seeing millions of dollars taken away from school districts for other uses.”

jpeters@theprogress.com