As tough as Manitoba’s upcoming school board budgets will be, it’s a whole lot tougher in New Brunswick.
The provincial government in Fredericton has told school boards to cut one per cent from budgets this year, and to cut two to three per cent in future years.
I was reading about this in the executive minutes of the Manitoba School Boards Association, which in turn credits the CBC for the information.
New Brunswick scrapped its school trustees a few years ago, replacing them for a while with local committees. Trustees are back now, but have no taxing power.
And the New Brunswick provincial government told trustees to cut spending without dropping any teachers.
Meanwhile, back on the planet’s surface.....
A one per cent cut isn’t just that, it also means no increase. So if your budget was $1 this year, you probably expected it to go up to $1.03 or $1.04, and instead it’s 99 cents, you can see that your buying power has dropped dramatically. When employees make up 85 per cent of a budget, and teachers just under two-thirds of spending, and teachers expect a raise, where on earth will the trustees cut, if they can’t reduce the workforce?
No heat? Bring a flashlight, kids? No more school buses? Wash your hands in cold water, bring your own toilet paper from home?
Let’s watch that one carefully.
And also, through the MSBA’s quoting CBC, I see that Prince Edward Island’s government plans to amend legislation and allow it to disband school boards deemed to be dysfunctional or ineffective. No word yet about definitions of those terms, but if the education minister on The Island disbands school boards, who’s left as a scapegoat for any shortcomings in public education?