OUR VIEW: Families to feel budget cutbacks

Will a two week spring break in Saanich school district benefit or hurt families? Tell your trustees

As members of the Saanich school district tonight ponder whether to double spring break to two weeks next year, they’ll need to keep in mind their decision’s effect on families.

A week ago, Sooke school district weighed the same question, ultimately deciding against extending spring break to two weeks. That district’s board of education chair said a two week spring break might get too costly for families who would have to pay more for child care if both parents work during the day.

However, Sooke school district’s enrolment is growing. That’s not the case on the Peninsula. The Saanich school district expects to cut seven teaching positions with 250 fewer students forecasted to attend local schools next year. Budget pressures in Saanich are tougher.

Several parents have written to the News Review, concerned that the high cost of child care could become too big a burden to bear if the break were doubled.

Others are worried the quality of their kids’ education could suffer. To make up for the week off, Saanich school district proposes to add eight minutes of instruction per day throughout the school year. But the quality of education in eight minutes a day doesn’t compare to a full week of class time.

School trustees on the Peninsula are in a difficult position. They’re required to slash back their budget according to demands by the Education Ministry while doing the right thing for the parents and students they were elected to serve.

The Saanich board of education meets tonight to discuss the two week spring break option, at 7 p.m. This is the last opportunity for parents to tell these decision makers how they’ll be affected by the proposed changes.

It’s an important time and an active way to be involved in your child’s education.

Have your say.