Education dollars good, not enough for Saanich school district

Saanich school district still facing deficit budget despite return of cash by the province.

The school district sold the former McTavish Road school this year. That money will be used for Bayside school’s new roof.

The Saanich school district is getting to keep a portion of the administrative cost savings they found this year — but it’s still not enough to balance their budget.

On Tuesday, B.C.’s education ministry announced they would return $25 million to the province’s school districts. That money was derived from the cuts the government asked districts to make in its administrative costs. School District 63 (Saanich), which runs schools on the Saanich Peninsula, will get to keep $329,000.

That’s only about half of the more than $600,000 in administrative cuts the board was forced to make, says board vice-chair Elsie McMurphy.

“This isn’t new money,” she said. “It was money that was clawed back. While having some of it back is welcome, we are still short in our budget. We will still have to make reductions in services to students.”

McMurphy said that means job cuts among the District’s teachers and support staff.

The Saanich school board in April announced they would not be able to balance their budget after the province asked them to make cuts in administrative costs.

The District found more than $600,000 to meet that goal and were then told they had to pay $314,000 as their share of a provincially-mandated change in a B.C.-wide internet access network for all districts. That meant the Saanich school district was facing a potential $984,000 deficit — not allowed under balanced budget rules.

The board made an appeal for the government to return the funds or change their funding model.

McMurphy said the board met with Education Minister Mike Bernier and had the support of area parent groups and unions. However, there was no change in provincial policy.

She said that the District has, over the last 12 years or so, closed schools. Any budget shortfalls now must be made to staff time and numbers.

The return of some of that money by the province this week creates more uncertainty, she added.

“We’re not sure if this is a one-time thing or if it will happen again in the future. So we can’t bank on it.”

The District board of education was scheduled to meet Wednesday night (June 2) to meet with unions and other stakeholders to discuss budget options. McMurphy said District staff created a draft list of potential cuts last month and those are now up for discussion.

“We’re still facing cuts in teachers and other staff and administrative time. It’s all on the table.”

School districts in B.C. have until June 30 to submit balanced  budgets to the province for approval.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

MISSING: Saanich police search for 18-year-old last seen Sept. 9

Robyn Coker-Steel has short purple hair, frequents downtown Victoria

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Saanich police encourage safe driving habits as rain leads to pooling on roadways

Slow down, inspect vehicle ahead of driving in wet autumn weather

Three years for serial bank robber who hit Sidney branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Sidney, Abbotsford and Vancouver

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read