Qualicum School District considers developing a parallel budget

Also from Tuesday night's school board meeting: teachers association president announces she is leaving the district for a job with BCTF

Debbie Morran has stepped down as president of the Mount Arrowsmith Teachers’ Association.

Her new position with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation in Vancouver as a support to the local teacher association presidents in the Kootenays and eastern B.C. starts tomorrow, she said.

“I have appreciated all of my years working in Parksville and Qualicum,” she said at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “I take away all these fond memories and I will continue to be vocal and seek the truth.”

Morran, presdient of MATA for four years and in the district for 25 years as a teacher,  was heavily involved with the recent teachers’ strike.

“I know every teacher in the province has benefited from your work because people that work toward the truth benefits everybody,” Trustee Barry Kurland said to Morran.

Norberta Heinrichs, who is currently vice president of MATA, will step in as acting president. In her last SD69 meeting, Morran commended the board for its letter to the provincial government regarding budget cuts to education.

Later in the meeting, Trustee Julie Austin called for the board to consider creating a needs-based budget alongside the district’s 2015/16 budget.

“This parallel budget would reflect the true needs of our district,” she said.

Austin said she hoped the document would show what cuts could have translated into the classroom, such as more teachers or support staff, and how strategic spending, such as implementing solar projects for energy, could lead to cost savings down the road.

“A document like this would be invaluable for the trustees to use in our lobbying efforts to the provincial government,” she said.

Kelly Wray of the District Parents Advisory Council supported this motion.

In other news from Tuesday night’s board meeting:

• Assistant superintendent Gillian Wilson presented a draft of the 2015/16 school calendar, which schools will send to parents by the end of the week. The calendar will also be available on the district’s website (sd69.bc.ca) and parents are invited to give their feedback through the site.

• The district has chosen the sites for its upcoming SOLE and STREAM alternative programs, said Wilson. SOLE, the outdoor education program, will be hosted by Nanoose Bay Elementary due to its proximity to several ecological sites. STREAM, a program that focuses on science, technology and engineering, will be hosted by Arrowview Elementary as that school has classrooms that could be transformed into “maker spaces,” said Wilson.

She also said the chosen schools are not at capacity and thus had space for the new programs.

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