This is the time of year when school boards around here are finalizing their budgets for the next school year. Inevitably, they identify deficits, a process which then triggers frantic searches for savings. At some point, you've got to figure it'll affect the quality of education. Death by a thousand cuts seems to be such a limiting way to run a school, no?
Here's what I published in today's paper. Disclosure: our kids don't attend this school board. But the issue, in my view, is universal. Tomorrow it could be - and likely will be - pretty much any other school.
Catholic Board cuts send ominous noteYour turn: What's the answer to long-term education system viability? Why can't society seem to prioritize the future of its kids?
Published Thursday, July 13, 2006
The London Free Press
Parents of children attending London District Catholic schools have every right to believe that the latest round of budget cuts won’t be the last.
School boards in Ontario are legally barred from running deficits. So when the London District Catholic board identified a $3 million shortfall for the upcoming school year, it cut the number of supply teachers. The change means fewer supply teachers will be available to substitute for full-time teachers attending professional development courses.
It’s become an annual process: a shortfall is identified, which triggers furious activity to pare costs down without affecting the quality of education.
The problem with this educational funding philosophy is that it’s never-ending. Next year may well bring a similar crisis, as will subsequent years. We’re now cutting deep into the bone, raising problems for the long-term viability of the board.
Does our provincial government understand the long-term implications of its draconian deficit ban? Does it care that students ultimately pay the price for this short-sighted approach to educational funding? I doubt it.