School trustees ask for more time

Board of education has to find a way to make up for a half-million budget deficit

The big challenge of stretching their funding dollars has the Board of Education of School District 69 (Qualicum) asking for more time before approving next year’s budget.

At a budget information session April 18, the board was presented with three options to make up for a $546,175 budget shortfall.

But before choosing any option, trustees wanted more information on issues that effect the overall budget and are still up in the air.

District administrators have been working on developing the 2012/13 operating budget, which is around 44 million dollars, not enough to meet all the district’s costs.

Although three different cost saving scenarios were presented, none of them were accepted and the trustees, many of them new to the board, would not commit to any of the options until some loose ends are tied up.

Secretary-Treasurer Bernice Hannam wanted trustees to stick to the district’s timelines and asked for direction from the board, but with too many unknowns, the board postponed making any budget decisions.

A regular board meeting is scheduled for tonight (April 24) where Hannam will be looking for direction because the district needs to start planning for the next school year.

She said the budget process, which started in February, has been challenging and the public has expressed its priorities and there isn’t a lot of  time left to wrap up the process.

One of the cost saving measures includes reducing days of instruction on the local calendar, similar to what the district did to save money in 2011/2012.

Taking five days off the calendar would save $100,000.

Other options include reducing teachers and/or administration, cutting some custodial supplies and equipment, and eliminating extra-curricular transportation.

Board chair Lynette Kershaw said she thinks they will be able to make a decision Tuesday.

“I don’t think the budget is insurmountable,” she said. “We are changing a few minor things. The local calendar is the time factor.”

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).

“Regardless of whether we go back to one week, it has to be negotiated with MATA and time frames are involved,” said Kershaw.

She said she hopes the board can get a better indication of what they have to overcome to get an agreement with MATA and they are looking for some direction from staff.

Another question trustees need answered has to do with the new Family Place in Parksville. School District 69 donated the land for the centre but questions still remain about who will be paying for the upkeep of the building.

Kershaw said she doesn’t feel that the school district should lose money on the venture.

“We should at least break even or even make money off of it,” she stated.

Kershaw said the board needs to be clear about Family Place before they pass the budget.

“I want it to be clear that it is a great idea for supporting kids zero to six.  It’s a one stop shop for families who need support with services all in one place.  Theoretically its a great idea, but our duty as a board is to the students and schools and we have to look at it and make sure we think it through.”


Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

The Oceanside Minor Lacrosse Association will honour their many volunteers on June 26. (PQB News file photo)
Oceanside Minor Lacrosse to honour volunteers on June 26

Appreciation event set for Parksville Community Park

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read