SD42 trustees abdicate responsibility

Maple Ridge elementary teachers disappointed about budget survey.

Editor, The News:

Re: $6 million shortfall for SD42 (The News, March 1).

Local school trustees, the teaching staff at Maple Ridge elementary is dismayed and disappointed to learn about the 2013/2014 budget shortfall and budget-cutting survey being conducted by the school district.

We feel that you, as an elected body and as advocates of public education, have been given the responsibility to protect and support the students and children in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

The premise of this survey is that anyone and everyone who completes it favours additional cuts to the education budget.

The survey does not allow for those who participate to express opposition to cuts or reductions.

Parents and employee groups are being asked to further weaken our increasingly broken-down system.

We feel that this survey creates divisiveness between employee groups, parents and students who rely on a cooperative environment for the educational system to be effective.

Cuts which result in increasing class size, less SEA time, and a reduction of support staff have negative impacts on all students.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows claims to be a full-service neighbourhood school district, but without adequate resources we cannot hope to meet the needs of all students with further cuts to the budget.

This survey ignores the fundamental problem of decreased funding by the provincial government, while ignoring the increasing costs of operations.

Our school board and district education office should be lobbying the Ministry of Education to match the necessary funding needed to operate our district adequately.

The provincial government should be forced to take action to remedy this situation and should not be asking the children in SD42 to go without on a larger scale each year.

This survey enables the board to abdicate its responsibilities for making difficult decisions, while downloading it onto employees and the public, who may not fully understand the implications of the cuts they suggest.

The board’s inaction has the appearance of placing the promotion of government tax policy over its responsibility to advocate for public education in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

We strongly urge the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board to reconsider its position regarding further cuts and instead take a stronger stand and demand adequate funding from the Ministry of Education.

Ken Bisset,

for teachers at

Maple Ridge elementary

 

Offloading

Editor, The News:

Re: $6 million shortfall for SD42 (The News, March 1).

No mention is made of the federal government’s giving huge corporate tax breaks to the already rich CEOs in Canada, while abdicating  its responsibility to properly fund these Canadian institutions.

The federal government gives block funding to the provinces, which doesn’t keep up with our population growth and demands.

The provinces are left with cutting services like education to try and balance their books.

The municipalities and their school districts have to then cut their budgets because of the shortfall.

It’s called offloading.

There is no need for this shortfall if the federal government properly funded the provinces, for its services like education and health care.

Why isn’t this question asked? Why is it not entered into the debate?

I’ll tell you why, because to give all these tax breaks to the corporate CEOs, the federal government has to take the money from somewhere.

And that somewhere is our education systems, heath care, affordable housing.

That is the price we’re paying to subsidize the corporate empires and the lavish salaries the CEOs are making, those who are the major funders of the Harper government.

Are you starting to  see the connection?

John E. McKenzie

Maple Ridge

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