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Our Trustees are in a bind. School Boards all over BC are chronically underfunded and under huge stress to submit a balanced budget. Smaller districts like ours have less flexibility, treat
and any cuts made must safeguard the best education outcomes for our children.
When private sector companies are forced to downsize, their core service areas are the last to be cut. In our case, a ‘core service’ is anything which directly affects student learning. When cuts are made, they must be shared effectively around the district, and all discretionary expenses examined. Our children must not lose services to protect a top-heavy organization.
Given the City’s projected revitalization of the downtown core, closing downtown schools makes little sense. It is imperative to insulate the students, keep West Courtenay schools open and working, and not throw our essential resources away. No single neighbourhood should be made responsible for the shortfall.
The most viable option: put a full stop to spending until all budget options are evaluated, and a new Treasurer and Administrator are fully integrated. We need to stabilize our community and avoid rushing into poor decisions out of a sense of panic. In light of this, we present a list of ways to reduce the shortfall not yet discussed.
With care, we can find ways to manage our resources and build new revenue partnerships. To be fair, all of the options on the following list must be considered. Parents, residents, elected officials all have a stake in these decisions being made in the public trust. We must look to administrative and discretionary expenses to balance the 2016/17 budget.
A Concerned Citizen
on behalf of Comox Valley Schools
Possible Reductions: Immediate
– Freeze on hiring; suspend Superintendent hiring until December
– Review Job descriptions, and reduce salaries for Supt and Sec. Treasurer
– Seek a Budget Submission extension,
in view of loss of Supt. and Sec.Treasurer in mid year
– Reduce Board Senior Administration by a minimum of three positions (either by retirement or reassignment)
– Reduce Human Resources staff
– Reduce Vice Principals in Secondary; eliminate in Elementary
– Eliminate ‘District Principal’ designation and allowance
– Suspend all out-of-District Travel at Board expense
– Reduce Trustee stipends by 10%
– Move to a 4 day instructional week
– Close Tsolum School and relocate NIDES to Lake Trail
– Increase foreign student fees by 10%
– Negotiate a rate decrease with B.C. Hydro
– Expand School Smart Program
Possible Reductions: Future
– Suspend Board-sponsored Professional Development for all employees
– Review Transportation costs
– Suspend Post Season Athletic competition outside the SD
– Explore shared funding models with City,
Non profits and Business Community
– Reduce space requirements, and relocate School Board Offices
– -Negotiate sale/lease of School Board site
with the City and Regional District
– Plan for a referendum to support development of a
‘Community Education Centre’- See School Act (URL)
– Seek an Increase in Community School Links funding
– Investigate Grant sources and Shared Funding, e.g. Vancouver Foundation, Comox Valley Foundation, Ministry (Rural Education), City Of Courtenay, CRA, Service Clubs,etc.