News Views: Budget in context
The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board is facing a budget shortfall of as much as $6 million.
It must approve a balanced budget and submit it to the Ministry of Education by June 30.
To eliminate the deficit, the school district is asking parents to take an online survey, to help it organize cutting priorities.
The survey asks parents to rank their choices, from what items are most important to them to maintain, to least.
Among them are the usual suspects: reducing staff – from school to district administration, support and clerical workers and others, to non-enrolling teachers, and changes to professional development.
School closures is suggested, as is increasing class sizes and fees for optional programs – academies, bands, bussing.
Reducing new technological purchases is another option, as are cutting supplies and maintenance.
There are also new sources of revenue, such as increased fees for facility rentals, and private partnership and sponsorship opportunities.
Maple Ridge Chrysler Secondary?
No doubt that would spark the captive audience discussion again, as pop machines in hallways did a decade or so ago. It’s still and interesting discussion, but not one a survey can answer.
All parents of students should take the survey, but further discussion needs to occur, as it’s unfair to ask them questions about cutting jobs when most are probably unsure about the responsibilities of each one and what affect that would have.
Just as it needs to be explained that increasing fees for facility rentals wouldn’t much affect the learning inside classroooms, but would the costs for community groups that the same students and their families belong to.
It is fair that parents have a say in helping reach an agreeable budget. But the options need to be fully explained to them, or else their survey results have little to no context.
– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News