School District 79 budget survey opportunity ends April 7. (Citizen file)

Small window to have your say on Cowichan’s SD79 budget

Survey responses only collected until April 7

For few years now, the Cowichan Valley School District’s Board of Education has used the internet to reach out to parents and other stakeholders for their input about the annual budget. This year is no different.

“Surveying people through electronic ways is fairly new to society but it is escalating as a way to get feedback from the community,” board chair Candace Spilsbury said.

The response rate tripled last year from the year before.

“It is of increasing interest, particularly for parents and staff to involve themselves and engage with us about what’s important,” Spilsbury said. “The School District’s budget is our financial plan that helps us deliver educational excellence for all learners in the Cowichan Valley School District. Our community plays a large role in how our budget is allocated, and in addition to regular feedback and community meetings, the annual budget survey provides vial information.”

Last year’s budget was in excess of $92 million.

The online survey is available now — but for a short time only.

“It’s a quick turnaround because the whole budgeting process is a quick process,” Spilsbury explained, noting they are bound to the Ministry of Education’s timelines. “It’s very quick but it’s very intense so we’re trying to get as much input as we can in a short period of time and surveying electronically seems to be suggested as one of the better ways to do that.”

This year’s survey focuses on three main areas, Early Years’ Programming, Wellness, and Programs of Choice.

The survey itself isn’t long but the time required to complete it depends on how much respondents already know about the school district and how past budgets have worked. The first several pages are information to that effect as well as information related to the advances made as a result of last year’s survey responses.

The survey is linked here and can also be found on the Cowichan Valley School District’s website and social media pages. Survey responses will be collected only until Sunday, April 7.

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