Editor’s Note: This is a copy of a letter the Nanaimo, Duncan and District Labour Council sent to School District 79 trustees.
It is with admiration that the Nanaimo, Duncan and District Labour Council sends this letter to the trustees standing up for a restoration budget in SD79 this year. All too often trustees have only looked at the legal requirement to pass balanced budgets and not the need to provide a quality education for the students in their care.
The trustees of SD79 have not picked their budget numbers out of the air. Rather, their budget is informed by a broad strategic planning process that has involved public surveys, presentations and speakers at the public budget consultation Meeting, the District Strategic Plan, and presentations from educational partner groups. This budget meets the expectations of employees, families, aboriginal peoples AND trustees.
The SD79 budget requires that the Ministry of Education provide an extra $462 per student to cover the restoration of services to a reasonable level. It will, for example, allow the board to deal with school buildings that are rapidly approaching the age when maintenance costs will drastically increase if this is not dealt with soon.
It is the minister of education who is being derelict in his duties by not providing sufficient funding for SD79 and other school districts in this province, not trustees who are clearly laying out what their district requires. Threatening the removal of the board if they do not comply with the minister’s demands is a bullying tactic, and the minister should be ashamed. In any case, it is he, and not the board, who should be removed.
The minister of education should re-examine HIS budget priorities and provide the necessary funds to allow the board of trustees to provide quality education to the students in their care in SD79.