SD5 lashes out at provincial budget

Southeast Kootenay School District board of education disappointed in provincial budget priorities.

  • Mar. 30, 2016 5:00 p.m.

The School District board of education has expressed disappointment over the provincial budget in a letter that was recently sent to government ministers and the premier.

Board chair Frank Lento and the trustees voiced their concerns on issues such as inflationary costs, unfunded wage increases, clawbacks stemming from forced administrative savings, among others.

“While we acknowledge public education will receive a so-called increase of approximately one per cent in each of the next two years, our Board is extremely disappointed that government continues to choose not to adequately invest in K – 12 Education to ensure future prosperity for the province through a well-educated work force,” said Lento.

Lento says a one-percent increase does nothing to address inflationary costs such as Hydro and MSP increases, unfunded wage increases, surprise clawbacks—like year two of the administrative savings demanded by government in 2015—, or the infrastructure costs required to accommodate the new provincial reporting program, MyEducationBC.

According to Lento, Boards must also address the disappearance of this year’s holdback fund–money the Ministry of Education traditionally holds back after the initial per student and grant funding has been distributed to Boards of Education. This money is then distributed to Districts late in the budget year and is used by Districts to accommodate mid-year increases in student numbers, special education needs etc. These funds are commonly built into a Board’s yearly budget.

Lento says this year’s holdback funds will instead be used to fund the influx of nearly 7000 new students attending public schools in the 2016 – 2017 school year –students that government failed to anticipate in their initial Education Budget. While the province has promised to fully fund these students, rather than adjust the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) Budget to accommodate the increased demand placed on public education, Districts are instead forced to forfeit their holdback funding.

Based on the current student projections it is estimated that –in addition to reallocating the Districts’ holdback funds – the Ministry of Finance (MoF) will need to allocate an extra $30 million to the MoE in order for government to meet its commitment to fully fund these students.

Lento says that if this additional funding is provided, it should not be considered an increase to education funding and that the decision not to fund the mounting increased costs to public education is particularly frustrating given the 2016

Report on the Budget Consultations has once again indicated that K-12 education is a public spending priority and that government should recognize and fund the increased costs that school districts have incurred.

According to Lento, the Board cannot understand why, despite BC already having a AAA credit rating and one of the lowest debts among provinces, government has chosen to pay down debt faster than scheduled in last year’s budget, essentially removing $500 million from the Provincial Budget that could have been used to better support public education and other essential services British Columbians pay taxes to support.

“Debt payment is a misguided priority over essential services,” said Lento. “As long as it’s manageable—which BC’s debt is—debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s what enables families to own homes and governments to pay for education, infrastructure and other things we all rely on; things that improve our quality of life now and ensure our kids have a healthy, well-educated and prosperous future.”

 

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read