But school support workers are concerned that instead of taking the community’s advice to use available resources, like the Local Capital Reserve, the VSB continues to squirrel away any more funds and proceed with proposed cuts.
“I am very concerned that during this consultation process – where parents, support workers and teachers advised the board to use every available cent – the VSB has actually increased the amount of the district’s uncommitted Local Capital Reserve by about $500,000. The reserve will sit at almost $5 million next year, while the district cuts important services for students and lays off over 100 highly skilled support staff and teachers,” says Paul Faoro, president of CUPE Local 15 whose members include over 1,400 support workers in School District 39.
“We have also called on the board to budget for additional revenue of more than $3 million in ‘holdback’ monies from Victoria and I don’t see any evidence that they have heeded this request either,” says Faoro.
The “holdback” funds have become a hot button issue because the province made a quiet decision to change the way these funds are allocated to school districts. The holdback is a portion of the annual allocation to districts that is held in reserve until actual student counts and other data are known in the fall. Until this year (2006-07) – holdback funds were regularly released to all districts. Only half of the promised holdback funds went to districts in 2006-07.
CUPE 15 representatives will be participating in a 6:30 p.m. rally at the Vancouver School Board Education Centre. The union has written to both Premier Campbell and Education Minister Shirley Bond, but has yet to receive any response to its concerns.
Contact: Paul Faoro, CUPE 15 president 604.879.4671 (office); 604.202.1829 (cell); Tina Meadows, CUPE national representative, 604.291-1940