Status quo budget more like funding cut: Burnaby school board chair
Burnaby school board chair Larry Hayes isn’t surprised that the province plans to legislate an end to teachers’ job action.
“I don’t think anybody is surprised that this is probably something that was going to happen and probably what the government wanted to see, an answer like that.”
Hayes said, “I would hate to see this now be the basis of some really hard feelings from the teachers and have it spill over into our schools,” adding he believes teachers are professional enough to not let it affect what happens in classrooms.
In Burnaby at least, Hayes believes teachers understand “there’s really not a lot we can do as a school board in controlling what the government does with this situation.”
The Burnaby school board has been “loud and clear” in expressing its support for a negotiated settlement.
As for last week’s provincial budget, he said no increase in funding “really does equate to a loss rather than even standing pat” since school districts’ costs go up just with inflation.
The proposal that the province raise more than $700 million by selling off surplus properties should not affect Burnaby school district.
“As far as Burnaby’s concerned, we really don’t have surplus properties,” Hayes said.
Any properties not currently being used as Burnaby school district facilities are being held for future schools several years from now, when populations in certain neighbourhoods are expected to grow.
“Districts have to be very, very careful especially in areas like Burnaby where our population has generally been growing,” he said.
“With Burnaby, when you look around there’s constantly more building going on and more residential being put up.”
For instance, the former Marian High in east Burnaby is expected to be needed over the long term as an elementary school site.
It is currently being leased to the independent Carver Christian High School.
Its Duthie-Union site, near Hastings Street and Duthie Avenue, is currently home to a daycare and district storage. And another large property, across from the old New Haven site on Marine Drive, is being used for adult and continuing education programs, two daycares and storage.
Hayes added that some Burnaby school district properties were originally acquired by the City of Burnaby, back when schools were run by city hall. That could lead to some legal arguments over who rightfully owns the lands, if there was ever a move to sell any.