School budget cut far less than predicted

  • Feb. 26, 2003 5:00 a.m.

The school board is facing a budget cut for the next school year of about $185,000, not the almost $500,000 it had predicted a year ago. Thanks to a couple of items outlined by secretary treasurer Len Ibbs at the board meeting in Queen Charlotte Tuesday, the reduction is far less than anticipated, and gives the board some breathing room.
“For the 2003/04 budget, there is no consideration being given to closing any schools, nor any major changes to the level of grades provided in any school,” says a document released by the board. It also says moving to a four day school week is not being considered, although other districts that make the switch will be watched closely to see the results.
Several factors have put the board in a better position for next year, including a $138,000 surplus this year, extra funding from the province, and continued but unexpected financial support from the Ministry of Families and Children.
Mr. Ibbs called it “a significant improvement, as far as I am concerned”, and it should result in less heated public consultation meetings than last year, when the board faced deeper cuts and was considering school closing as an option that had to be looked at.
The consultation meetings this year start at the end of the month and will be held as follows;

• Monday March 31, ALM in Sandspit, 7:15 pm

• Tuesday April 1, Sk’aadgaa Naay, Skidegate, 6:30 pm

• Wednesday April 2, Port school, 6:30 pm

• Thursday April 3, GMD, Masset, 6:30 pm

The board will hold an closed working meeting on Wednesday April 9, then pass a preliminary budget at its regular meeting April 22. The district operates on a budget of just under $9-million a year.