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The cuts go deeper than just DAGs; your ministry has cancelled the Facilities Grant. Our school district will have to draw from contingency funds to pay for some of the maintenance projects completed over the summer; leaving only a small cushion for emergencies. Installation of a new boiler, expected to save $10,000-$15,000 a year at a cost of $100,000 - cancelled. A solar project at a school has been cancelled. The school district is required to be carbon neutral by the end of 2010. How ironic that we are cancelling projects that would bring us closer to this goal. We may be forced to buy carbon credits! A zero-interest 10-year loan from the ministry to support carbon neutral initiatives could solve this. Otherwise we cannot afford to move ahead, we will be stuck in a carbon-offset rut and students may also fall victim to the re-routing of funds.
What impact will HST have on the school district budget? Will all day Kindergarten be adequately supported when it starts next September? These costly policies are mandated by your government. On top of the cut to the Facilities Grant, your ministry has cut $100,000 from the rent paid by School District 93 (Conseil Scolaire Francais) for a total loss of $1.2 million to our school district budget. This renegotiation of rent affects every school district with an S.D. 93 program. How can you continue to ask for more?
In our DPAC's opinion, the timing of these decisions is poor and there seems to be a pattern. Has there been a September, in recent memory, that school boards have not had some kind of major financial policy change to absorb? How about a radical change? We request that school fundraising is banned and that all resources are henceforth to be supplied by the Ministry of Education. They can buy and install the playgrounds; buy the library books, text books to support new curriculum, desks, chairs and soccer balls; install computer labs; provide whiteboards, paper, art supplies and fund author readings and art programs. All items our PACs have purchased through DAGs, fund-raising and access to matching funds from generous donors like the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. We are lucky to be a "have" school district with world interest bringing international students to our schools. Yet our board faces a major funding shortfall; what is the situation in the "have not" districts? Ministry funding of all matters related to education is the only way we can guarantee all communities have equal access to funding.
Your colleague's "blowback" comment was ill-timed for a fast response; we'll try to make up for that with the quantity of response. We challenge parents and PACs to respond, in writing, to these funding issues.