VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Vancouver School Board voted in favour of its proposed $590 million budget for 2015-2016.
Board Chair Fraser Ballentyne says the board passed a balanced budget with a few tweaks.
“We rescinded the paid parking for teachers that the previous board put in place; the takeaway here is that the trustees unanimously want to support the good will of teachers versus the green initiative that are circulating in the greater community.”
It also reinstated two of the five adult outreach literacy programs that were on the books to be cut.
He says there was a motion from trustee Patti Bacchus to save adult education which failed to get unanimous support.
“That didn’t fly and it was one of the areas where in the last three years we’ve been subsidizing the adult education program to the tune of about $14 million, that K-12 money could ‘ve gone into the system from K-12, we don’t get money from the government for that,” says Ballentyne.
Ahead of the budget vote, Vancouver teachers held a rally in support of trustees and the tough decisions they made.
Teachers there say they’re worried about the decline of public education. Elementary school teacher Dan Graves, who is also the head of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers Association, knows every year trustees have a tough decision to make and this time shaving off 8 million dollars to balance its budget was no different.
He blames Victoria for all the cuts to adult education and other programs.
“We know that kids are going to hurt and educational outcomes and learning conditions will not be as strong as a result of the kind of the decisions these trustees have to make time and time again by the provincial government,” explains Graves.
“Students really have more hurdles than anywhere else and it’s not getting better and this poor school board, look you can’t keep taking things and hoping it’s going to keep holding together,” says an adult education teacher named Janek.
Teachers are also taking a stand against bill 11 which they believe leaves the power in the hands of the province instead of the elected board.