Emergency COPAC Meeting, June 22, 2011

Picture of Stasia Hartley
Emergency COPAC Meeting, June 22, 2011
by Stasia Hartley - Sunday, 19 June 2011, 9:36 PM

Hello everyone,
Here is the latest from the Saanich school board meeting on Wed June 15th, 2011

Defeated: motion to pass balanced budget of $70,944,888 with $196,850 in cuts.

Passed: motion to send notice to submit an unbalanced budget for $73,643,888 to Minister of Education. This amount is lowered by cuts already made this spring to school administration $85K and portable reduction $44K, but still includes the funds needed to restore lost programs and services to students for the 2011/2012 school year.
So the board has again chosen to pass an unbalanced budget and contravene the School Act. All the trustees have struggled between their desire to follow the School Act and their desire to do whatever they can to try to stop the yearly cycle of budget cuts. It could be a rocky road ahead.

The board received a letter dated June 7th from George Abbott, Minister of Ed ucation stating that this fall:
"the Technical Review committee will review the current level of funding protection and how the current funding protection supplement as well as other supplements that protect against declining enrolment can be both sustainable and provide stability in a declining enrolment."

So this shows some promise of movement on the government's part, but nothing tangible yet and not necessarily due to the letter writing campaign as the call to action had not started until later on that week. We have had some positive reaction from PACs from our funding formula information letter and our call to action campaign with an estimated few hundred emails to date. This volume of emails has a ten fold impact in ministries, but we must keep up the flow of emails to the minister.

There is still work to be done before the June 30th deadline and we have to get together to strategize on our next step after the latest board action.... so we are hosting an emergency COPACS meeting on Wed June 22nd at 7:30 pm in the usual location at the Saanich Education Centre (behind Keating Elementary). Your attendance during this very busy time of year will be greatly appreciated. Please invite anyone who is interested to discuss what Saanich PACs' next step should be to ensure pressure is maintained on the Ministry of Education to continue to move in a positive direction and correct the funding formula via the Technical Review Committee.

Also, we request that PAC executives help assess what percentage of their pac community has sent in letters/emails to the Ministry of Education. Either an estimated number or a rough percentage of student population would be most helpful, e.g.) 5% or 10% or 25% of families at the school have sent in emails.
Thanks so much and please send in those estimates/tallies and we look forward to seeing you then!