Mission school budget calls for staffing level reductions

Special meeting of trustees June 26 at Fraserview school, 6:30 p.m., to give budget third reading

Mission school budget calls for staffing level reductions

A number of staff reductions and cost-cutting measures were unveiled at Tuesday night’s school board meeting where the proposed 2012-13 budget was out for the public to view.

The $61-million budget was given the first two readings, while voting on the third will happen at a special meeting of the board June 26.

But the vote was not unanimous.

Trustees Randy Cairns and Carol Hamilton voted against the budget, while Edie Heinrichs, Jim Taylor and Shelly Carter were in favour.

Cairns said the staffing reductions worried him, due to potential complications with contracts and “legalities,” and that the level of administrative staff being let go (see story page three) “leaves us too thin at the administration level” to carry out the work. He also said the goodwill established over the years with working groups will be undone and that student achievement will be negatively affected.

Board vice-chair Taylor was blunt in his assessment of the district’s financial position:

“We’re in bad financial shape. We have big problems and there are no good cuts,” he said. “Our belief is that we can spread the administrative work around the district.”

He added that it was time the board looked at how to more fiscally responsibly carry out services for students.

Hamilton lodged her negative vote after stating that while she recognized the financial problems the school district faces, she didn’t “feel that the approach was balanced.”

She said “people would feel better if they knew the transition plan.”

One of the main cries from the public Tuesday evening was the loss of two elementary school counsellors, which some residents said put their children at risk.

But at the budget presentation, board chair Heinrichs said a 0.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) counsellor will be in place by September.

“We’re not planning on leaving a hole there,” she said, and promised that staff has begun working on how children’s needs will be met, and that a plan will be created during the summer months.

We want to create “better services, and affordable services,” Heinrichs added. “If we don’t make changes, we’ll be left with the same [problems].”

The proposed 2012-13 budget calls for a number of reductions including nearly $700,000 in exempt staff wages, $45,000 from the communications budget, $575,000 from teaching staff — due to enrolment decline — and a drop of $177,000 for education assistants, among others, to arrive at $1.9 million in cuts.

The district is also faced with $898,750 less in revenue due to a reduction in operating grants and other items, and had to find funds to cover about $456,000 in known expenditure changes. These included increases in employee benefits, vacation pay, WorkSafe and MSP increases and more.

The district derives 97.3 per cent of its revenue from the Ministry of Education, and 89.9 per cent of the budget goes towards salaries and benefits.


Going forward

The school district, as per provincial government request, must now submit three-year budget proposals, and some of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 initial ideas on cost savings were shown Tuesday.

A balanced budget is required by law to be presented by school boards, and shortfalls are expected in the next three years: 2012-13, $1.2 million; 2013-14, $2.2 million; 2014-15, $3 million.

To compensate in 2013-14, some proposed measures include engaging in a school closure process ($400,000 savings), decrease student transportation costs ($258,000) and move to a two-week spring break ($100,000 savings), plus more.

In 2014-15, a further enrolment decline is still predicted, and possible teaching staff reductions would save $281,000, removing a lab assistant ($40,000 savings) and potentially consolidating the French Immersion program to recoup $92,000.


Next meeting

The board of trustees special meeting to carry out the third reading of the budget bylaw happens June 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Fraserview school library. If the public wishes to comment on the budget before that time, they can contact their individual school PACs, send e-mails or phone calls to individual trustees, or drop off letters to the school district administration office on Fourth Avenue.

You can also send an e-mail to schoolbudget@mpsd.ca.

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 20

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Most Read