“The clear difference between the Vancouver school board and others is the statements that they have been making about the changes that they propose to make this year, which they believe are unacceptable.” – B.C. Liberal Education Minister, Margaret MacDiarmid
Contrary to what the B.C. Liberals are telling British Columbians, districts across the province are in the same situation as Vancouver. Here are some examples:
Shortfall: $6 million
On the chopping block: 94 full-time positions including 15 educational assistants,18 learning resource teachers, five elementary band program positions and eight teacher-librarians.
What they are saying: “I didn't take this job to lay off people and cut $6 million (in) services to kids for fun. And I really take offence to the minister in the way that she's speaking, because she's suggesting we're playing some game.” – Richmond Trustee Donna Sargent (Richmond News, April 16, 2010)
Shortfall: $3 million
On the chopping block: 30 teaching positions, funding for elective courses like sewing and woodworking, and school busing.
What they are saying: “The exercise of cutting $3 million out of a gutted system was so obviously something none of the partners and some of the trustees were willing to be party to. We were being asked to choose among a plethora of critical services and programs, to lay off much needed staff and drive the standards in our classrooms even lower.”– CowichanTrustee Eden Haythornthwaite (Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, April 15, 2010)
Shortfall: $4.1 million
On the chopping block: Elementary school youth workers, cooking and sewing classes, and cuts to the school calendar
What they are saying: “It’s getting harder and harder…” – Coquitlam Superintendent Tom Grant (Coquitlam Now, April, 14, 2010)
Shortfall: $4.7 million
On the chopping block: Cutting literacy coordinators, cutting support for numeracy, a half a million dollar cut in student services, and across the board budget reductions for schools – elementary schools cut by 1.7 percent, middle schools cut by two per cent, and secondary schools cut by 3.3 per cent.
What they are saying: “I haven't heard any single school board or school district say they aren't facing severe financial problems.” – Central Okanagan Trustee Moira Baxter (CKNW, April 15)