Balanced budget hinges on talks

Staff negotiating with teachers’ union local over proposed calendar change

Cutting five educational days out of the school calendar is the first option still being hammered out to make up for a $546,175 budget shortfall in School District 69 (Qualicum).

Whether the Mount Arrowsmith Teachers Association (MATA) will agree to the calendar change is still under discussion.

Taking five days off the calendar is the first option the board would prefer to stretch its funding dollars and that alone would bring a savings of $100,000 in support staff wages.

Under Bill 22, the government took the authority away from management and the school board to change the calendar and in order for the district to cut instructional days, they must come to an agreement with the Mount Arrowsmith Teachers Association (MATA).

Calendar discussions took place on Wednesday, without result.

MATA President Deb Morran told The News the discussions have been frank but as of Thursday they still didn’t have a deal.

“When we look at the calendar change in terms of the savings it can generate we are aware of the constraints the district has.  We still have a bit of time but the clock is ticking,” she admitted.

Morran said she needs to meet with the MATA executive for input and that meeting won’t happen until next week.

Secretary-Treasurer Bernice Hannam told the Board of Education on April 24 that she wants to wrap things up this week because it takes time to implement the school calendar.

If option one is rejected, the board will look at option two, which saves $113,000 by reducing teacher staffing.

The 2012/13 operating budget, which is around 44 million dollars, isn’t enough to meet all the district’s costs and some of the other budget saving measures include cutting some custodial supplies and equipment, and eliminating extra-curricular transportation.

Board Chair Lynette Kershaw said determining a preliminary budget has been a difficult task for the new board.

“Did we get it right?

“Time will tell. It may not be perfect but it is something we can all work with and changes may need to be made,” she stated.

Superintendent Jim Ansell said the budget doesn’t become final until February so changes can me made up until then.

Concerns expressed over the cost of maintaining the newly constructed Family Place were put to rest this week.

Ansell said the facility is going to be a cost neutral proposition and shouldn’t play havoc with their budget expenses.

“It is on school district property and is a significant asset for us.

“All of our costs will be offset by revenues that will come in,” he stated.


Just Posted

Parksville Lawn Bowling Club on a roll for artificial turf

Project to cost over $500,000 but will save club money

More Parksville pop-up water parks planned

Fire department says Sunday, Aug. 18 next one on the agenda

Hi Neighbour Day celebrates 50th year in Errington

Pancake breakfast, parade, zucchini race and more planned for this years’ festivities

Semi-truck crashes on Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Drivers heading in or out of Tofino-Ucluelet Friday afternoon should expect delays

Errington scrap wood fire still under investigation

Three fire departments deployed to battle highly visible blaze

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read