Budget cuts not best for students: Kamloops teachers' association - InfoNews

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Budget cuts not best for students: Kamloops teachers' association

May 04, 2015 - 10:39 AM

KAMLOOPS – The Kamloops teachers' union is frustrated with the proposed cuts that would see 17 teachers and three educational assistants lose their jobs heading into the next school year, but if others join them in their frustration they did not officially bring up their concerns with the school district.

In a letter submitted to the Kamloops-Thompson School District, the only correspondence submitted to the district regarding the proposed budget cuts, David Komeljenovic, president of the teacher’s association, expressed his group’s frustrations with the board’s proposed cuts. 

The union says the budget has to be what’s best for students and the potential lay-off of 20 positions has the union upset. While they understand the budget pressure the board is facing, the union cannot abide with any decision that will ultimately affect students.

They say the board's arguments for lay-offs are the same as last year. The anticipated loss of students, translating into the loss of provincial funding never happened last year though. The union says student levels have remained the same since 2013-14 school year. If this holds true again this coming school year, there is no need to cause such disruptions, Komeljenovic notes in the letter.

The union wants the board to use its $7.4-million reserve to offset any lay-offs.

“We appreciate that some amount has been utilized to support staffing for next year but would propose the sufficient funds be utilized to avoid lay-offs if it appears that lay-offs are necessary,” the letter states.

The union says it is unfair to cut teachers while the board has maintained the same amount of administrative staff and has actually increased the amount of exempt staff in the district office. It urges to use reserve funds for teachers as opposed to anything else.

To combat what the union calls ‘misleading information,’ it asks the board to join forces to write a letter to the ministry highlighting how provincial cuts are affecting education.

The board is working through the union's letter and their input will be noted Monday, April 11, through the board meeting to adopt the budget.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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