So when will the bleeding finally stop? When will the cuts be deep enough?
Or are they just waiting for people to be so fed up with all the things they can no longer get in the public school system that it will be more palatable to lower the boom on their true agenda: getting rid of public schools altogether and going all-out private.
They, in this case, are of course the provincial government.
And don’t imagine for a moment that private means we won’t still be paying for education. Our tax money already goes to fund private schools, while our public system starves.
Our school district faces a $3.7 million budget shortfall. The district’s secretary-treasurer Jason Sandquist told a public meeting (though there was hardly anyone there) that the culprits are underfunding from the province for things like the wage increases that they negotiated with the teachers, but have utterly failed to add money to the coffers for, and an increase in students that is just enough to take the Cowichan Valley out of the funding protection it had enjoyed over the last few years.
It’s now, once again, down to layoff notices. Sandquist was blunt about that, too.
All of the fat was trimmed years ago.
All the small schools have had their doors shuttered. Middle schools have been disbanded in favour of bulking up the populations at elementary and high schools.
Programs for things like kids needing diagnoses and help with individualized programs to succeed in school have never been properly funded to begin with. Inclusion was a lovely idea that has been an epic disaster for our public education system due to, it seems, nobody ever considering how much it would actually cost to make it work properly in the classroom. It’s a case of officials running with a philosophy without the thinking it all the way through — or maybe just deciding that somebody else could work out that pesky money stuff.
So now we’re at the point where your kid’s teacher might be on the chopping block.
We have no doubt that our school board will do the best they can to preserve as much of what our kids need as they can. They know all too well what happens if they defy the province and demand more. Our board was fired once before and the province would not hesitate to do it again. We’d wager they liked it a lot better when there was a single trustee, who worked at their behest, anyway.
But the school trustees aren’t magicians. This is going to be lemonade without the sugar.
Yes, they’ll do their best. But it won’t be what’s best for our kids, our schools or our community.
Because “best” is proper funding, and that’s not going to happen.