Budget cuts could mean larger classes in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District will likely be trimming teachers and increasing class sizes as it struggles to balance its 2011/12 budget.

Secretary treasurer Wayne Jefferson said class sizes at the intermediate and secondary levels could increase by .25 students on average.

“We have to tighten our belts, so we’re looking at everything,” he said.

While the changes to class sizes would vary across the district, the end result could be three full-time teaching positions cut.

“For some classes, there will be no change,” said Jefferson.

Cuts to the district’s special education budget, totalling $180,000, would see two fewer teachers across the district to work with students with learning disabilities.

The proposed cuts amount to a staffing reduction of less than two per cent, says Laurie Meston, the district’s director of instruction for early learning and elementary.

“Special education is still funded as well or better than many places. We’re staffed pretty well compared to a lot of districts,” she said. “In most cases, [the cuts] won’t be noticed.”

The cost-saving measures are just some of the many recommended by district staff to help balance next year’s budget. Currently, the district is expecting a drop in revenue of close $1 million due to falling enrollment. Meanwhile, increased costs, namely from teacher benefits, has created an expected $2.2 million shortfall.

However, salvation may come in the form of additional funding from the provincial government. Last year, the Ministry of Education provided 56 school districts with extra funding to offset declines in revenue from falling enrollment.

With the likelihood of a provincial election on the horizon, Jefferson is optimistic the provincial government will step in again.

“In my experience, elections are generally good for funding,” Jefferson said.

Among other cost-saving measures, the district also plans to bring its information technology services in-house, netting an estimated savings of $100,000.

A two per cent reduction in supplies will mean fewer paper products will be at students’ disposal.

“We’re looking at ways of going green and using less paper,” said Jefferson. “People will have to make different choices around the materials they use.”

School board trustees will vote on the 2011/12 budget on June 28.

Comment on budget

School District No. 42 has set up an online forum for parents to provide input on the budget process at www.sd42.ca/2011-–-2012-budget-process.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Burrards lose in Victoria

Maple Ridge WLA squad hosts Salmonbellies on Sunday

UPDATE: Multiple fires along the railway tracks in Pitt Meadows

Firefighters asking CP rail to close tracks

Maple Ridge coaches and players on Team BC

Heading to California tournament with 15U team

Maple Ridge woman reported missing now located

Police have spoken with Karen Gorrie, reported missing in May

Golden Ears Bridge at 10: Community had called for a crossing for decades

From nothing, to the Albion Ferry, to the bridge was a long wait

Dog at Maple Ridge SPCA needs spinal surgery

Miniature pinscher has painful condition known as Wobbler Syndrome.

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read