It is with dismay and disappointment that the teaching staff of Maple Ridge Elementary became aware of the 2013/2014 budget shortfall and the School Board Budget Cutting Survey being released by School District 42.
We feel that school trustees, as an elected body and as advocates of public education, have been given the responsibility to protect and support the students and children in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
The premise of the survey is that anyone and everyone who completes the survey favours additional cuts to the education budget. The survey does not allow for those who participate to express opposition to cuts or reductions.
Parents and employee groups are being asked to further weaken our increasingly broken-down system. We feel the survey creates divisiveness between employee groups, parents, and student groups that rely on a cooperative environment for the educational system to be effective.
Cuts that result in increasing class size, less SEA time, and a reduction of support staff have negative impacts on all students. Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows claims to be a “full-service neighbourhood school” district, but without adequate resources, we cannot hope to meet the needs of all students with further cuts to the budget.
The survey ignores the fundamental problem of decreased funding by the provincial government, while ignoring the increasing costs of operations.
Our school board and DEO should be lobbying the Ministry of Education to match the necessary funding needed to operate our district adequately. The provincial government should be forced to take action to remedy this situation, and it should not be asking the children in School District 42 to go without on a larger scale each year.
The survey enables the board to abdicate its responsibilities for making difficult decisions while downloading it onto its employees and the public who may not fully understand the implications of the cuts they suggest.
The board’s inaction has the appearance of placing the promotion of government tax policy over its responsibility to advocate for public education in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
We strongly urge the School Board of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows to reconsider its position regarding further cuts, and instead take a stronger stand and demand adequate funding from the Ministry of Education.
J. McCafferty, J. Clark, T. Waddell, L. D’Andrea, N. Warren, D. Jones, J. Wilson, F. Bowden, K. Bisset, T. Hetherington, C. Lo, S Sanders, A. Dillen, M. Napodi, L. Lane, A. Goddard, J. Elliott, and R. Passmore, Teachers of Maple Ridge Elementary School