School staff cut to help Surrey balance budget

School staff cut to help Surrey balance budget

Reductions will be largely through attrition, but there will be some layoffs, district says.

The Surrey School District is reducing staffing by 135 full-time positions to help shave $9 million from the operating budget for the next school year.

And while most of those jobs are expected to come largely through attrition, some layoffs loom.

In all, there will be about 49 fewer teachers, 56 fewer education assistants, 27 fewer support staff members such as clerical and maintenance workers and three fewer principals and other professional staff for 2014-15.

Of those, said Trustee Terry Allen, the equivalent of about 30 positions will be layoffs and cuts to clerical and education assistant hours, as well as fewer district helping teachers.

The rest of the reduced staff are expected to retire or leave voluntarily, but will not be replaced.

But with 49 departing teachers not being replaced, Allen said schools will have to adhere even more strictly to class size restrictions.

“Where there was a certain amount of leeway before, there will be very little leeway now,” he said.

In addition to staff reductions, the district is using unspent contingency funds from the current year to help balance the $588.5-million budget, in an effort to make cutbacks that would have the least direct impact on classrooms.

“Despite continuous increases in employee benefits and utility costs, as well as absorbing carbon offsets,” said Allen, “our board maintains the most efficiently run district in the province and one of the top three districts in the proportion of its operating budget spent directly to support the classroom.

“But really, we don’t have anything that doesn’t have an impact on the classroom,” Allen added.

Nearly 90 per cent of the budget pays for instructional and classroom support, while the rest goes to district administration, maintenance and transportation.

Allen said some of the choices trustees had to make, especially those involving employees, are heartbreaking.

“It’s very difficult to make these decisions and it’s getting harder every year.”

While $572 million will come from the province, $16 million of the 2014-15 budget comes from district revenue sources such as tuition fees paid by international students and rent paid by outside groups to use school facilities.

Surrey pointed out its budget challenges are very different than those of other B.C. school districts. While Surrey has benefitted from rapidly increasing enrolment over the past 10 years (and therefore a steady flow of per-pupil funding from government), student numbers aren’t expected to rise much for the next three years. That means funding will only increase modestly, making it unfeasible to maintain the same levels of service year after year.

In the upcoming school year, enrolment is predicted to increase by just 120 students, bringing the total number of students to approximately 70,202.

As well, the district said dipping into surplus dollars from the current year money left over from contingency funds for unpredictable expenses like snow clearing simply isn’t a sustainable or reliable way to fund education. While certain school expenditures will be ongoing, the contingency fund will not always exist.

Adjustments may be made to the preliminary operating budget at the end of September, when final students numbers are in, but by law, B.C. school districts must submit a balanced budget to the province by June 30 every year.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The volume of visitors to White Rock’s Marine Drive over the weekend has led council to consider special measures this week. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock council rejects resident-only parking for waterfront

Other health and safety measures to be considered in a special meeting Wednesday

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Vehicles line up for the Greater Vancouver Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival at the Chilliwack Coliseum parking lot on March 27. The touring event comes to Cloverdale this weekend, April 24-25 (Photo: Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)
Here are the food trucks coming to Cloverdale for a drive-thru festival this weekend

Nine trucks will be parked Saturday, nine Sunday during event at fairgrounds

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Parts of Surrey, North Delta to get AstraZeneca vaccines for people ages 40+

A total of seven communities in Surrey and Delta will be targeted

The Braidwood Band performs for the seniors at Zion Park Manor in Surrey, as part of a music program planned by Rick’s Heart Foundation. (submitted photo)
VIDEO: Surrey charity brings distanced concerts to care homes, with prop pink firetruck

Familiar tunes performed for seniors during pandemic-era ‘Heart for Music’ program

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

A man has died after being shot at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park the evening of Monday, April 19. (Twitter/IHIT)
1 man dead after shooting at Coquitlam park: IHIT

The gunman is still at large, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Most Read