Budget already means layoffs

  • Jun. 7, 2013 9:00 a.m.

School trustees gave first and second reading to the 2013-14 budget at their meeting May 28, a budget that has already resulted in several layoffs. Superintendent Angus Wilson said the three teachers have been laid off for the coming school year, one at G.M. Dawson Secondary and two at Queen Charlotte Secondary. The three teachers held the equivalent of 1.4 full-time positions. Other schools in the district will also have less staff when students return to the classroom in September, but the positions that have been eliminated were temporary, Mr. Wilson explained. The number of full-time teaching positions will be slightly lower at Tahayghen, G.M. Dawson, Queen Charlotte and A.L. Mathers next year, and will remain the same at Sk’aadgaa Naay and Port Clements. The layoffs are not unexpected as the number of students in the district has been declining for many years. The lower enrollment means that for 2013-14, the school district will have a budget of $10.2 million, 2 percent less than the current year’s budget of $10.4 million. Some CUPE members are also being laid off. The district is eliminating two home-school coordinator positions at Sk’aadgaa Naay and Tahayghen, reducing the number of administration/clerical hours at the district office, and slightly reducing the number of educational assistant, or EA, positions. Mr. Wilson said the CUPE situation is complicated, as union members with more seniority can bump other members, which can lead to more job changes. The number of EA positions is tied to the number of students with special needs in the district, and as students move around so do the positions, he said. Some schools will have less EAs in September and some schools will have more, but the net result is a fraction of a position less. Mr. Wilson said the budget is based on district staff’s best guess at what the September student numbers will be. If a lot more students than expected show up, the district may be able to hire more staff. Trustees are set to give the final readings to the 2013-14 budget at their next meeting, which will be held Tuesday June 25 in Queen Charlotte.