Sunday, December 13, 2009

Crunch time for the budget challenge

NVSD Budget Challenge Report and Recommendations

This weeks board meeting saw the board approve all of the proposed budget measures with little debate over any of them. This comes as no surprise as these measures have carried through two public consultations and given the size of the anticipated shortfalls the board has little choice but to pursue as many avenues as possible to balance the budget. The District administration must now examine each of the proposed areas for cuts to determine how they can be implemented, what the actual impacts and savings will be. They will then feed that information into the development of the 2010/2011 budget.

There will be cuts to all areas of the District next year, but what this means in terms of big ticket items for parents is less support for students, larger average class sizes across both elementary and secondary schools, the consolidation of elementary schools and changes to alternate programs.

The most intimidating of these for most parents is the issue of school consolidations. The administration has been asked to look at the options for re-organizing and consolidating both schools and alternate programs across the district and to bring their recommendations to the board on January 19th for consideration. We do not yet know which schools or how many schools will be impacted.

NVPAC (as representatives of parents) and other stakeholder groups have been asked to help administration with a review of the criteria used to assess schools.

What criteria should be looked at to decide which schools would be best to serve the students of North Vancouver? How do we consider how many schools should we have? All of our schools are wonderful schools with unique characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. How do we capture those advantages within this process? What criteria would best support an overall vision for world-class education and opportunities for all students across the district?

How do we compare our schools against those criteria to make sure that once this process is complete, the schools we have are the ones that will best ensure we have a sustainable school system in North Vancouver that enables the district to provide the best quality of education and the most learning opportunities for students across the district?

Its a difficult situation. But we have an opportunity to make the pain of consolidation worthwhile if re-organization enables us to maximize the quality of education in North Vancouver.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Budget Challenge 2010 - Part III - Dec1st@7pm

My apologies for this very late meeting reminder.

The 3rd session of the school districts Budget Challenge consultation meetings is this evening at 7pm. This is the last significant public input into this process as the board will start to make decisions in direction at the Dec. 8th board meeting. NVPAC encourages parents to contribute to the meeting

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
7:00 pm
Lucas Centre Gymnasium
2132 Hamilton Avenue
(North of Capilano Mall - Access via Hamilton or Fell Avenues)

The magnitude of the Board’s budget challenge has been identified as $10 million over the next three school years, with an estimated $6 to $7 million for the 2010/2011 school year. For more information on the meeting and the challenge see the district website.
In particular parents should review the supporting material that will be used to guide this evenings discussions