The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is writing two letters, asking the provincial government for more money.
The frustration of trustees who have faced tough budget decisions was evident in two motions that passed at the Sept. 25 meeting of the board.
First, Trustee Ken Clarkson asked that the board write the education ministry and express dismay and concern that the government has not funded contracts that it has negotiated with employees in the education system. He was referring to the tentative deal between CUPE employees who work as teachers aides, clerical workers, groundskeepers and other support staff in the school system, and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, which negotiates for the province.
They will receive and increase of 3.5 per cent over two years in the new deal. Under its cooperative gains mandate, the province is telling school districts they will have to fund the pay raise out of existing budgets, with no increases.
The board would have to make budget cuts of approximately $500,000 per year to get payroll increase into the budget,
“We can no longer fool anyone into thinking these cuts will not impact children,” said Clarkson.
After passing a motion by Kathy Marshall, the board will also write government asking that that zero per cent mandate for non-union staff be lifted. Marshall said after undergoing austerity measures, “all of our employees deserve a fair increase.”
Controlling the climate
The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District will be asking the province for almost $1 million to purchase a more efficient climate control system at Westview secondary.
This resulted after a heating and air conditioning review of the mechanical systems at the school by Rocky Point Engineering. The school has 72 natural gas rooftop units, and a large, low-efficiency natural gas fired boiler.
The plan would replace the rooftop units with a more efficient heat pump system. The hot water boiler would be replaced by three new natural gas fired tanks.
The change would result in energy savings of 76 per cent annually, with reductions in both natural gas and electricity used. The estimated savings would be $15,000 per year. It would also reduce the school’s greenhouse gas emissions by 190 tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is a reduction of 85 per cent.
The new system would cost $976,000.
Rocky Point said that given the less efficient system is nearing the end of its life, and will soon need to be replaced, the more expensive and more efficient system will pay for itself in 3.6 years, Rocky Point estimated.
The plan will be forwarded to the Education Ministry as it considers capital funding requests from across the province.