School funding crunch: Things are getting real

Editorial

Last week, the Fort La Bosse School Division (FLBSD) invited the public to a meeting to learn about their plans for the coming year’s budget, a budget of importance to parents and students because some tough changes are on the horizon.

Our division has been doing its best to communicate the storm that’s on its way due to eight years of no funding increases from the Province and three years of funding reductions.

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Essentially FLBSD trustees and administrators have already cut all the non-education costs they can: no more new school buses and four trustee positions slashed, to name a few items.

All that’s left now, they say, is to chip away at student programs for the coming school year – something they’ve avoided so far but no longer can.  

And yet no members of the public came to the division’s pre-budget public meeting last week. Crowded around the table at FLBSD headquarters in Virden were teachers, trustees, staff and even the mayor. But no citizens.

To be sure, some folks hold the view that school administrators and teachers are paid too much, the system is top heavy and has too many frills. There are those pushing for amalgamation of boards to save money, and those who want centralized control to replace the independent school divisions we now have.

Our division is urging us to resist that siren song and they’d be happy to explain the numbers to anyone who’s interested. They’re good at making it easy to understand, even for laypeople like me.

We can all agree, I think, that there are few things in life more important than education. And with a technological environment that changes every nanosecond, children need teachers, educational tools and supports more than ever.

So take an evening to attend a meeting and find out what your school trustees are up against, what programs are on the chopping block, and what they’re trying to do about it.

This year, education programs are at risk in the 2019-20 budget. Pencils are being sharpened as I type this. Next year, the list will grow.

Things are getting real.

Will you be there to support your school division so it can support your child’s future?

© Virden Empire-Advance

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