Chilliwack school budget increases staff

What by all accounts appeared to be a good news budget had some school trustees up in arms.

A $110 million budget was narrowly passed on Tuesday with a 4-3 vote, despite an increase to teachers, principals, vice principals, educational assistants, support staff and other professionals.

What by all accounts appeared to be a good news budget had some school trustees up in arms.

A $110 million budget was narrowly passed on Tuesday with a 4-3 vote, despite an increase to teachers, principals, vice principals, educational assistants, support staff and other professionals.

Still, it wasn’t good enough for trustee Heather Maahs. She wanted the district to amend for the cuts made last year, especially with regards to the restructuring of school administration.

“Principals and vice principals are school sharing,” she said. “In some cases, one principal is overseeing three schools … I don’t think that is in the best interest of the principal, the staff and obviously the students.”

Trustee John-Henry Harter however said that without a clear alternative it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the school district to not pass the budget.

“I am not being offered any amendments or any clear actions,” he said. “I can’t without a sound alternative in place vote against this budget. To just simply say ‘Don’t pass it,’ that’s not compelling to me.”

The budget includes 685.5 teachers, an increase of 22.3 from last year; 58.7 principals and vice principals, an increase of 3.0; 24.4 executive and management staff, an increase of 0.7; 200.6 educational assistants, an increase of 3.7; and 255.6 other support staff, an increase of 3.7.

Trustees Martha Wiens and Silvia Dyck, as well as Maahs, voted against the budget.

kbartel@theprogress.com