North Okanagan-Shuswap budget cuts 'gut-wrenching'

Literacy programs, grief counselling and class sizes are all taking a hit next year in what the North Okanagan-Shuswap school board chair calls some ‘gut-wrenching’ decisions to balance next year’s budget. The school board approved two pages of reductions totalling $1.7 million at its board meeting Tuesday, May 12.

NORTH OKANAGAN - Literacy programs, grief counselling and class sizes are all taking a hit next year in what the North Okanagan-Shuswap school board chair calls some ‘gut-wrenching’ decisions to balance next year’s budget.

The school board approved two pages of reductions totalling $1.7 million at its board meeting Tuesday, May 12.

"We have tried to do the best we can with the funding that we have,” chair Bobbi Johnson said in media release, adding the decisions were ‘gut-wrenching’.

The cuts include the closure of the Sicamous Alternate program, reductions in deaf and hard of hearing teacher time, and funding cuts for literacy programs, grief counselling, and the district honours choir. Class sizes, which currently sit at around 20 students, will also get bigger.

Trustee Chris Coers said there is a need for the student supports the district has built, and now they are being torn apart.

"We are forced to choose between very important things for students, and at what cost?” Coers said.

Trustee Kelly Rowe noted she was happy to hear a motion to support rural schools is being taken to the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

"That's where it has to come from. We have to rally with our local politicians and go to the provincial government and get more funding,” Rowe said.

The complete budget report can be found here.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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