SD70 to hold school board meeting at USS Tuesday in Ucluelet

Anyone wishing to provide verbal input into the Alberni School District’s budget process Tuesday will need to drive to Ucluelet to do so. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at Ucluelet Secondary School, the district’s board of education will go through its first of two public input meetings for its 2014-15 budget at 6:30 p.m.

According to district superintendent Cam Pinkerton, approximately $800,000 worth of savings needs to be found through this budget process, with the final budget needing to be adopted by May 31.

The school district is in this financial hole due to declining enrolment and empty seats in its facilities – it is funded by the Ministry of Education on a per student basis – along with unforeseen increases in costs such as to BC Hydro and pension increases, among other factors.

However, according to Pinkerton, the district will remain under funding protection from the province until its drastic decline in enrollment ends.

“We predict this to happen in two to three years,” Pinkerton said. 

The second public budget input meeting is on April22 at the school district office on Roger Street at 7 p.m.

Last month, when the school board voted to reverse a school closure motion and leave all schools open for the 2014-15 school year, chairman Larry Ransom said the savings that would have come through school closures would instead come through April’s budget process.

Ransom argued the importance of having parents knowing exactly where their children are going to school this September was the main reason for deciding to do nothing when it came to school closures and the reconfiguration of the district. 

He has also said the next round of school closure decisions will be decided by a new school board that will be elected in November – the current board has never voted to close a single school, twice deciding to “find another way in the last two years.”

SMcKenzie@avtimes.net 250-723-8171, ext. 224