The Vancouver School Board is made up of nine trustees who are elected every three years to provide governance and democratic stewardship of one of the most diverse public school systems in Canada.
We entrust to them the mission of enabling each student in Vancouver to reach their intellectual, social, aesthetic and physical potential in challenging and stimulating settings which reflect the worth of each individual and promote mutual respect, cooperation and social responsibility.
Of course there are extraordinary and complex challenges associated a large, urban and multicultural school district that includes some of the most affluent and impoverished urban neighbourhoods in the country. A school district that provides education services to more than 100,000 students. 56,000 of these students attend elementary and secondary schools, 48,000 attend Continuing Education programs, and the remainder distributed learning and adult Education programs.
Unfortunately our Provincial Government, despite its campaign promises and public rhetoric continues to make meeting these challenges more difficult, if not impossible for our Trustees. Since 2002, and even during years of record surpluses, the provincial government has consistently underfunded the Vancouver public school system, which forced our trustees to cut a total of $47 million in services to students.
The provincial government would also have us believe that since they increased per pupil funding each year, our trustees must be mismanaging the funding they are receiving. What the government doesn’t tell us is that the increases in per-pupil funding do not come close to covering inflation and the costs imposed on our school district by the government. Costs like the provincially negotiated salary increases; pension plan contributions; MSP premiums; carbon emission reporting; and carbon-offset purchase requirements.
If you agree that the provincial government should stop playing political football with public education and start funding it properly, please go to: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/advocacy . There you will find information about how you can help our Trustees ensure all students in Vancouver have access to the resources and opportunities they need.