Almost $6 million more cuts to Vancouver schools? Our Kids Deserve Better!

    VANCOUVER, April 26 /CNW/ - Parents, kids, teachers, support staff and
friends of public education will gather at the south side of the Vancouver
School Board office (10th and Fir) at 6:30 pm on April 26 to let the school
board know Our Kids Deserve Better.
    Organized by an ad hoc group of friends of public education (comprising
parents, grandparents and employee groups), the event's purpose is to let
school trustees know it is not acceptable to cut almost $6 million more from
an already underfunded school district.
    The school board is scheduled to receive delegations regarding its
preliminary 2007/08 operating budget proposals at 7 pm, following the outside
gathering. A final budget will be approved on April 30.
    "We want the trustees to speak up and stand up for kids and families in
Vancouver," says parent Julianne Doctor, who also chairs the Vancouver
District Parent Advisory Council. "Trustees must act in the interests of
students. They were elected to defend the interests of kids, and that's what
we expect them to do."
    The current VSB budget proposals project the elimination of 132.6 FTE
teaching positions that are currently in the system, and the loss of more than
30 special education assistants.
    Parents and others are concerned that the province's funding formula for
schools, which provides money on a per-student basis, does not meet
Vancouver's needs due to the diverse and challenging issues faced by our
students. For example, extra funding allocations to support ESL students have
not increased in over 11 years and funding for children with autism has
remained stagnant at $16,000/student for years, which doesn't come anywhere
near to cost of providing support and resources to educate autistic students.
    Friends of Public Education want to know how trustees can justify
slashing services to students when our city and province are booming.
    "Why are we nickle and diming our kids, when investing in their future is
one of the best investments we can make?" asks Dawn Steele, a parent of an
autistic student.
    The April 26, 6:30 gathering is open to everyone who cares about public

For further information:

For further information: Julianne Doctor, (604) 220-9234 and Paul Houle,
(604) 873-0319

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