Open letter to Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education, At its Sept. 3, 2013 meeting, the Richmond Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution to send you this letter expressing our concerns regarding your correspondence of August 26, 2013.
The news that the government and the CUPE negotiating team are now back to the bargaining table is most encouraging. Bargaining in good faith is a goal of any negotiation process and one our board strongly endorses.
While we recognize a wage increase for CUPE employees is warranted, we feel obligated to communicate strongly and clearly that sufficient funding for education is essential in order to maintain the high quality of education we offer for all of our students.
It is imperative that the government make the provision of adequate funding to cover all costs associated with K to 12 public education a top priority. This includes providing districts with funds to support any negotiated wage increases.
Boards have been directed by your Ministry to identify cost savings in order to fund any negotiated wage settlement. Our board has always been diligent and has attained necessary cost savings through staff and other reductions to balance our budget.
Therefore, the directive to find further savings will inevitably mean a reduction in service levels through further staff cuts. BCSTA, at its 2013 AGM, made the following a part of its policy, and we fully supported this motion: "Government should fully fund Boards of Education for all increases in their costs attributable to the Government."
The recent announcements reducing BCPSEA to an advisory role without consultation is alarming in its implications for the future of the co-governance model in our province.
It is our hope that the scheduled round of bargaining results in a successful and reasonable provincial framework, and further that this framework does not put the financial burden for any negotiated settlements on school districts.
Yours sincerely, Donna Sargent, chairperson On behalf of the Board of Education (Richmond) Donna Sargent,
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