The superintendent of the Central Okanagan School District is anticipating a $2 million shortfall going into preliminary budget meetings this week.
The district is budgeting for $173,544,272 in funding from the province, but already knows it is not enough to meet the bills and there are more needs on the horizon.
“Just because my kid doesn’t qualify for any learning assistance or resource support, I don’t understand why he can’t receive any extra help from another teacher besides the classroom teacher,” reads one parent’s comment in response to requests for budget input.
A submission for a learning assistance coordinator has been filed with the district, a new position worth $47,000, and the CUPE workers who lose time during the second week of spring break are also asking to bank minutes toward a pay cheque replacing the loss of income this second week of break has created.
“The ongoing inclusion of a second week of Spring Break has a very significant negative impact on ten-month employees and low-income parents,” said CUPE Local 3523 president Wendy Johnson in a submission filed with the district. “This not only creates a loss immediately felt by the employee’s family but also affects the ten-month employee’s pensionable service and retirement benefit.
“There are many 10-month employees who have children in our school system,” she goes on to say. “The wage loss to parents immediately results in these families being barely able, or unable , to meet their financial obligations and often doing without basic necessities.”
Other districts within the province have apparently agreed to this time-banking scheme.
The district’s finance and legal committee will meet on Wednesday, Apr. 3 to begin discussing the wants, needs and shortfalls to accommodate in the budget, and the superintendent will provide his budget recommendations on Apr. 17.