Murray to remain chair of Ridge school board

Murray was acclaimed at a meeting Dec. 11 as the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows district faces a budget crunch

Mike Murray will return as Maple Rige-Pitt Meadows school board chair for 2014.

Mike Murray will return as school board chair for 2014, and lead a group that faces another tough budget year.

In the last school board meeting for 2013 on Wednesday, Murray was acclaimed as chair of the School District 42 board of education.

“I do, with great humility,” Murray said when asked if he accepted the nomination.

“Because this is a super group.”

Murray, who retired as District of Maple Ridge’s parks ad leisure services manager, is now in his third year as school board chair.

Eleanor Palis was also acclaimed as vice-chair.

These positions are elected by a silent vote of trustees if more than one person is nominated.

Murray offered a year in review report, which addressed the board’s fiscal challenges.

In 2013, the board wrestled with a budget shortfall of $5.66 million.

It used a public survey, with 1,000 responses, as well as meetings with partner groups, to guide its priorities in setting the $130 million budget.

There were rental rate increases, which saw community groups – including the Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and minor soccer – driven out of gymnasiums.

There were also 35 positions reduced across the district, and the board depleted its financial reserves by $1.52 million.

“We got it as right as we possibly could,” Murray told the board.

For the 2014 budget session, the trustees will need to address “a potential anticipated shortfall of $4.5 million,” Murray revealed.

“This is not going to be easy.”

Among the highlights in the 2013 year in review:

• a new elementary reporting system that makes letter grades optional;

• improving the graduation rate to 76.3 per cent in 2007-2008 to a high of 90.7 per cent last year;

• development of the Roadmap to Excellence, which sets standards and goals for continuous improvement;

• development, review or revision of 28 board policies, including use of information technology and Trustee Code of Conduct;

• improvement in the summer learning program, measured by the statistic that 71 per cent of summer school students successfully completed the next level of that same subject (did summer school in math 8, then passed Grade 9 math);

• improved reading proficiency with the iPod Project, measured by all students meeting expectations and 27 per cent exceeding. That was an improvement from 17 per cent who were not meeting expectations, and just two per cent were exceeding.

Just Posted

Donations needed for Putting on the Glitz in Maple Ridge

Two dress drives are being held in January

Pup ingested pot in Pitt Meadows

Walk along the dikes leaves five-month-old dog unable to walk

Pitt Meadows bans clothing donation bins

Anita’s mother grateful for “slow change” in getting rid of bins that killed her daughter

Letter: ‘Train horns were background noise’

Editor, The News: Re: UPDATED: No more horns from trains running through… Continue reading

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Vancouver city council endorses free transit for youth

Mayor Kennedy Stewart will write a support letter to TransLink

Most Read