Parksville Qualicum school district should expect no help from provincial government

MLA Michelle Stilwell says School District 69 needs to find solutions to $1.5 million deficit in its existing budget

STILWELL’S STAFF: More than 100 people attended the official opening of Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell’s constituency office in the Heritage Centre on Highway 19A in Parksville on Thursday. With Stilwell above are

STILWELL’S STAFF: More than 100 people attended the official opening of Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell’s constituency office in the Heritage Centre on Highway 19A in Parksville on Thursday. With Stilwell above are

The local school district should not expect financial relief from the provincial government, says Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell.

School District 69 is currently grappling with a deficit of more than $1.5 million.

“Our government is controlling spending — that’s what we were elected to do — and we are expecting school boards to control spending and find solutions within their existing budgets,” Stilwell said Friday.

The first-term MLA also said per pupil funding is higher now than it has ever been, and that School District 69 has been facing declining enrolment for some years now.

The local deficit was at roughly $1.3 million until a raise won by CUPE workers upped it to more than $1.5 million. At a recent school board meeting, the school district’s secretary-treasurer said it was going to be a struggle to find that extra cash.

“Right now we are looking at options and ideas to see how we will come up with that money,” said Erica Bailey.

But I don’t have an answer for you at this point.”