School board decided on funding

Letter writers weigh in on teachers' job action and where funding is being spent within the system.

Editor, The News:

Re: Rally for education funding (The News, May 14).

I was sorry to hear that Marc Dalton “was shouted down” at the rally.  This is especially disheartening as the topic of concern was public education; students  value  respect for  differing views . We need to model for our children the value of respectful disagreement, especially in the face such emotionally charged situations.

The commitment of the members of the protest is to be admired. They obviously care very much for the quality of their children’s education. Maybe they would be willing to consider:

• The education budget has not  been cut.  Provincial payments to school districts are based upon enrolment. Enrolment is down, therefore, the payment is less. If the number of students had increased, the funding would have increased.

• The amount of money per student is not the sole guarantor of student achievement. New Brunswick has the highest student graduation rate, yet is seventh in per student expenditure. Manitoba, which has the lowest graduation rate, is second in student expenditure ( Stats Canada). That is not to say that funding is not important, only that it is not the sole contributing factor.

• Should we be evaluating the school district’s model of delivery? Do we need to look carefully at where our funding is being spent? Why, when the student population has declined and, therefore, the number of staff working face to face with these students has declined, have there been no cuts to the senior management team? These positions are no doubt valuable. Are they more valuable, however, than the several CUPE positions that have been cut so that each senior management position could be retained?  Could the administration of the district be restructured and duties redistributed? Could we make do with fewer positions at the top so many positions involving contact with students could be reinstated?

• Could we look carefully at all programs administered at the district level? Maybe some need to be put on hold in order to free funding for face-to-face support. Could we look at working cooperatively with other adjoining districts to administer some district wide programs? Could a committee of parents, CUPE, and MRTA advise on these decisions?

• Prior to the passing of the budget, many teachers and support personnel presented suggestions as to how the shortfall could be dealt with. I don’t believe these suggestions were given the consideration they deserved.

Would it be useful to have another look?

• Would it be worthwhile to consider approaching the board and requesting another look at the budget? The board, not the education ministry, decided how to allocate the  funding. If the allocation is not acceptable, should we consider asking for revisions?

• Anyone in charge of a family’s finances knows that there is only so much money available for expenses and tough decisions need to be made. The same principle applies to this situation.  My biggest concern is that the staff  who work most closely with students  have been targeted.

Andree D’Andrea

Maple Ridge


Just the opposite

Editor, The News:

Re: Rally for education funding (The News, May 14).

I went to public school. Fortunately, I didn’t stick around long enough to be taught that when you put the words ‘job’ and ‘action’ together, they mean the opposite of what you would think.

According to the people who lead public school teachers down the path of most resistance, ‘job action’ means to stop being active on the job. Orwell would be rolling over in his grave at the irony, or the shocking congruity of the teachers union leading the charge of doublespeak.

Teachers and their union leaders must think of us as the proletariats in their game. Insulting the general public is a strange approach to garner support, but I’m guessing they figure most of us went to public school, so we wouldn’t notice the linguistic shell game. It’s no wonder I stopped listening to them well before 1984.

Grant Baker

Maple Ridge