Note: DPAC expects to hear the final numbers for budget shortfalls in SD57 on Wednesday, at the expanded committee of the whole.
From the Vancouver Sun:
School boards around the province are facing at least $56 million in budget cuts and considering eliminating more than 350 jobs heading into the new school year.
And that doesn’t include some districts that have not yet released their budget figures for next year, including Surrey, the largest district in the province.
In Coquitlam, the province’s third-largest school district, the shortfall is $13.4 million on their $270-million total budget, which could mean the elimination of 163 full-time jobs including 103 teachers, support staff, special education assistants and school administrators.
The Vancouver district is faced with a $12.34-million shortfall, which could mean the loss of 70 full-time positions, including controversial decisions like cutting elementary school band or eliminating the district’s athletic coordinator. Next year could be even more challenging because Vancouver schools are facing a $26.6-million shortfall for the 2015-16 school year.
While Vancouver’s budgetary woes have been caused at least in part by declining enrolment — districts are funded by the province on a per-pupil basis — many districts, such as Central Okanagan and Delta, are facing shortfalls despite the fact enrolment is projected to increase.
Budget cuts are still necessary in many areas because the overall provincial budget for education has remained flat, while rising costs — such as support staff wage increases, hydro cost increases, Medical Services Plan premiums and other mandatory benefit costs — are not being covered by the provincial government.