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October 28, 2017 4:49 am

Budget Squeeze Has School District Strategizing

Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 3:55 AM

Prince George, BC – School District 57’s Board of Trustees wants to hear from parents, students, staff and other members of the public, as it attempts to navigate rough seas ahead… It is not quite the perfect storm of 2001 that saw a change to the funding formula and continued declining enrollment combine to result in the closure of 15 schools over a two-year period. But trustees are faced with a $3.3-million dollar shortfall in next year’s budget and they want to face the financial challenge armed with a strategic plan. (click here for previous story) To gather input on the plan, the board has scheduled nine public engagement sessions over the coming month and into may. “Community engagement is important, as it will allow us to gain valuable insight into the current state of our school district and its future potential, says Board Chair, Tony Cable. Here is a list of the scheduled sessions:

  • College Heights Secondary | Tuesday April 21, 2015 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • D. P. Todd Secondary | Thursday April 23, 2015 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • Mackenzie Secondary | Wednesday April 29, 2015 | 5:00-7:00
  • Kelly Road Secondary | Thursday April 30, 2015 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • John McInnis Centre | Monday May 4, 2015 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • Valemount Secondary | Wednesday May 6 | 2014 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • McBride Secondary | Thursday May 7, 2015 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • Duchess Park Secondary | Tuesday May 12, 2015 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • Prince George Secondary | Wednesday May 13, 2015 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM

SD57 advises that each event can only accommodate a limited number of people, so interested individuals are urged to register early at this link, which can also be found on the school district’s website at www.sd57.bc.ca


Look at your costs versus private school costs and see why they can work with less dollars and provide the same services without a facilities grant even…

As with the W5 report last night maybe it is time for unions to bow out of the equation. The members can vote them in, can they take a vote to dissolve the union?

One big cost to the public schools over private is private schools don’t have special needs students. When I worked for the school district they had devoted classrooms and a few teachers and a few aids for these kids. Now they have all these kids going to different schools, each with their own aid. Maybe look at revisiting the old way for cost cutting.

Maybe it’s time to consider amalgamating school districts. Surely that would open doors to significant gains in reducing the numbers of administration staff.

Equity, why are private schools not required to take in special needs students at a number equal to public schools? Or are they?

Why are they not looking at being proactive ? Schools in the USA have been going solar . As of last year they are up to 490 MWs capacity and growing . Last year they made 77 million dollars and its growing . Our schools have the same scale but would be better organized . Bchydro doesn’t get any cheaper , ever . There is no where costs could be addressed as easily . Plus you get good high paying jobs building and running the systems . And you turn an ever increasing expense into cash flow . Plus in the summer when schools are on standby all it does is make us money . Ask crissy for the same juicy deal she’s giving the run of the river projects .

Jim.. Private schools won’t take special needs. Their main pitch for their schools is grade point average.. It would hurt the sales pitch. Special needs students are a huge financial burden on the school district, so are behavioural problem kids. Lots of special classrooms just for them. People forget to factor in those costs when saying how expensive it is per student in public schools.. Of course the private schools don’t take the behaviour problem children either..but they do like the cost public schools pay for them because it means with these kids bringing up the average cost per child the private schools get and increase per student too.

If I had a boss that came to me and said, I need you to make do with 3 million less in your budget, but you can’t cut wages, staff, in fact, you have very little control over almost any of the costs – I’d just quit. And that’s what the trustees should do. Just quit, and let the government send in a hatchet-man to do the job – which he won’t be able to do, if it’s true there is nowhere to cut, and they’ll likely increase funding somehow in order to save face. In fact, school board members, you are likely hurting the children by insisting on attempting the impossible. As long as you’re willing to take the beating, the government is willing to stand back and watch it happen, but once it’s them directly calling the shots, the cash will come some back door way.

As for the private school debate, there are private schools because there are parents unhappy with public schools for various reasons – lack of discipline, anti-religious bias, their child being bullied and no one willing to deal with it. The fact you can get people to kick in extra cash for an alternative to a system they can get for free, indicates there’s something wrong with the public schools – so they are exercising their right to a choice. Frankly, if my child was in a classroom with a special needs kid moaning and groaning all day long, such that she couldn’t learn, I’d pull her out and send her to private school as well. Integration is a fuzzy feeling concept that very little study has been done on the benefits or detriments – it just seems right.

The cash that goes to private schools comes with a pretty big string – you must teach BC curriculum. It is seen as a good thing by the government and society in general.

What will more likely happen, is those schools will adapt to their new financial reality, lay off the accredited teachers, but because their basis for a private school is faith based, few of this kids will end up in the public system, and highly unlikely the cash saved, will get reallocated there.

What are you talking about PVal, ever checked out a “private school”? I know of 3 kids who are special needs (know their parents) who go to Cedars. Their main choice to go there was the bullying in public school and their siblings also go there for ease even though it comes at a cost.

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 11:02 AM by P Val

Jim.. Private schools won’t take special needs.


I call BS on that one. Some schools may not take them but plenty of others do. They probably have a better chance at a private school where the teachers actually put the kids first.

‘If I had a boss that came to me and said, I need you to make do with 3 million less in your budget, but you can’t cut wages, staff, in fact, you have very little control over almost any of the costs – I’d just quit’.
That’s the attitude – just quit.
The reason that school boards can’t cut wages and staff is because of the stranglehold that unions have on the education system. In the private sector the deadwood would be identified and pruned back.

Ski, it is worded that way – they are not dealing with 3.3 million less dollars this year than last year in their budget – funding has gone up, the budget lines have gone up faster. It is time for them to sit down and look at the budget in all areas. What they want are parents who will moan and whine to the government and media for more funding.

Ataloss – they already had a school in PG (that just got torn down due to fire) with solar array on the roof. These projects are partially funded through various levels of government but they have to have someone take the lead as the district will not do so on its own. They had the PAC do the leg work and it was lowering the hydro costs to the school but the panels and system are now probably in a landfill somewhere no doubt. It is not a money maker but does lower the bills.

That’s wrong slinky . It is a huge money maker and jobs creator . If those pannels you elude too were more than five years old then they were at lease ⅔ less eficient and many more times as expensive . They ( school board ) wouldn’t even have to up front the money . To understand it check out solarcity or many of the other installers . It’s a huge business . With the cap and trade model being adopted today by ont/qc it’s a forgone conclusion . Good on them . Doing another end run around priminister petroleum . Once again showing him on the wrong side of history .

I think of private schools as non denominational.. I forget about the Christian schools.. Sorry for the mistake about some taking special needs.. Do any take behaviour problem ones ?

Yeah VOR – just quit is appropriate if you’ve been given an impossible task by a higher authority who is trying to make you look like the prick when they’re the prick. I did qualify, “if it’s true there’s nowhere to cut” If it’s not, then the board should get down to doing what they are there to do.

PVal – yes, Christian schools take problem children. My daughter went to one, and she wasn’t sleeping and finally we learned that the boy next to her was spending most of his time irritating her the way problem boys do.

So, we went to the principal, and asked why this problem child was a: in the school at all, and b: why he was sitting next to our daughter. Apparently because our daughter was so calm, they were hoping she would rub off on him. He was in the school, because they saw it as a mission opportunity.

Now, I’m all for saving the world, just not at my kids expense, because you just end up with two lost kids in that situation – so, we home schooled and the problem child went on to annoy someone else’s kid.

I’m not so egalitarian that I believe problem children should be integrated at the expense of the other children. I think you just dumb down everyone, and frankly, I think this is one of the major frustrations teachers both public and private face.

That is not what I consider a problem child Ski.. When I worked for the school district I worked in a classroom with rapists, drug dealers, habitual criminals etc.. If they didn’t make it in our class it was off to YDC or the jail.. There where 3 staff, 8 students in a special classroom not near any regular schools..

At the risk of being accused of trolling and stirring the pot for the sake of it (which I may be), I find it interesting that the ongoing debate around funding, professional / union bashing and support for and against the ‘private institutions’ is limited to the education sector.

What about private health care? Why is the government dead set against private health care? Why are the anti-unionist, teacher bashers not engaged in doctor / nurses / health care union bashing? And arguing for more private health care centres?

Perhaps all of the bashers don’t see their well being in a well-educated general populace while they can all count on needing and accessing the health care system in their senior years if not sooner.

What? Perhaps self serving are we? Worried about our own future trips to the doctor and not the education of the neighbours’ kids?


Yeah PVal, pretty sure no private school would touch those kids.

Wrong again Ataloss. Look it up on the internet. Cost 25 grand for them to set it up which came from grants and PAC fundraisers and free labour. Brand new panels, probably demolished with the school between a year and two years old.

Anotherside, doctors run a practice, most pay for their own building or rent a space. When I see teachers take that risk and open up a practice and hire receptionists etc I would change my tune. On to nurses and other health care workers what do you think the w5 story was about. I know 2 nurses and they bash their colleagues enough they don’t need any help from me.

Ataloss – here you go, saves you the trouble, 11 schools in BC qualified for the grant including Highglen in PG



FYI – The School District has hired a private consulting firm from Alberta to undertake this process. Certainly not very timely for them to be spending upwards of $100,000. It was my assumption that Senior Administration and the voted in School Trustees where responsible for making these tough decisions.

You have to laugh when the whining left places their own children in private schools. Hypocrite.

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