Acknowledgement of Territory:
A. Commencement of Meeting : Chair Orcherton
Absent / regrets: McEvoy
C. Public Presentations on the 2014/15 Budget (5 minutes each)
1. Nicole Baker, Sundance School parent
Good evening, ladies, gentlemen, esteemed Trustees. My name is Nicole Baker, and I am standing here before you, as I did a week ago, to speak about Sundance School.
In light of the decision made last week to close the school, we have conducted a follow-up survey of the families of Sundance. The results that came back to us seemed significant, and as you are attempting to put forth a balanced budget, we felt it prudent to share them with you.
From the families that have replied to date, we have heard that approximately 14 of the current Sundance students will be leaving the public school system, either to be homeschooled or enrolled in private school. This will reduce the funding per student that the district receives. Given that at least one student of those mentioned has designations, qualifying them for extra funding, we have estimated a loss of approximately $114,900 in per student funding as a direct result of this school’s closure.
Sundance has been slated to be closed as a budget reduction item, despite the fact that the budget process is not finished yet. To my understanding, according to the School Act, the completed budget does not have to be put forth until June 30th, giving time to explore options. This decision did not have to be made so immediately, and the community could have been shown more respect.
I do not stand before you, however, with a list of problems and no suggestions for the future. In the words of Lyndon B. Johnson, “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.” Sundance is a school focused on community, and these past few months, we have tried to bring the Board into that, attempting to brainstorm ideas, and meet the challenges that a forecasted budget shortfall brought before us. You have never been alone in this.
On that note, it has come to our attention, that there is the possibility of pursuing the option that we have seen in action with James Bay Community School. If the board were to successfully apply to have Sundance Elementary become a community school, the unused spaces could be used for programs without restricting the school itself. This would bring the City on board as well, and they would contribute funding for some programming.
I would like to thank each of you for your time, and for considering this new information, and I hope that it will continue to be a part of your budget discussions moving forward. Though the Sundance community, as well as the hundreds of individuals who have written to you in support of Sundance, are presently disillusioned with the way this process has been handled so far, we still hope that a more positive solution will be found. We want what we have always wanted, to work with the board to meet the budget constraints as well as the needs of the children who call Sundance “home”.
As one final point of consideration, if the Board is not willing to explore the Community School model with the City of Victoria, we would like to ask the board to provide a lease option of $1 per year to the Sundance families to enable our special community to operate as an independent school.
- Each Trustee was presented with the following booklet:
D. Adjournment: 7:30