I was asked by our PAC to be the contact for the media for our campaign for better education funding in B.C. I have to admit I was a little daunted. Writing is not something that has come easy to me. It takes time & a whole lots of editing. I left a very quick msg for the news director at CHEK News today. They returned my msg with in minutes & asked me to email then my thoughts & details. This is what I came up with under pressure & a quick time line:
" Dear Mr. Germain & Mr. Kirkpatrick,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Cheslakees Pac and the town of Port McNeill. Our school is facing closure as a result of the impending budget cuts by our current government. We are one of three schools in District #85 slated for closure. Port Hardy is slated to loose an elementary school & the town of Woss is slated to loose it's only remaining school. The children of Woss will be required to bus into Pt. McNeill to attend school ( Which means several hours on a bus each day).
Over the last several years our school district has been forced to close many of our school and to make cuts to programming. Currently Pt. McNeill has two elementary school & one high school that services our community along with three out lying towns. Our high school is only able to offer the basic courses with very few electives. We have rooms full of musical instruments. We even have a tacher who is qualified to teach music & band. However we have no funding. One teacher could work with all three schools if there was funding available.
Here are the current numbers:
- SD 85 budget 09/10 - approx. 19 million
- Salaries & Pensions - Approx. 17.1 million ( untouchable)
- remaining operating budget - 1.9 million
SD 85 is preparing to have to cut a min. of 1 million dollars from next years operating cost. It could be more. By closing Cheslakees they will only be able to save $ 80,000.00 in operating exspenses. The school board will be informed of it's budget on March 15th. We will be inform on March 22nd at are next school board mtg.
If our school was to close we would be down to just one option for our children. Cheslakees may be small in size but not in heart. Many of our student have special needs designation and will & have struggled in our larger school and maxed out classes. We are concerned for are children & our town. As parents and as a PAC we have invested thousands of hours into our school and children's education. We have saught out public funding and grants to be able to build our accessible playground, to cover the cost of topping up the cultural/ fine arts/ science/ physical education for our students.
Our town is deeply concerned with the effect these constant cuts are having on our children's education. We are also very concerned about what will happen next year? Will we loose our high school & have to ship are children off to Pt. Hardy to be educated? What will they take from our hard working community next?
Our Mayor Mr. Ferny is holding a town mtg this Tuesday at 7 pm at the town hall. I have attached a copy of the notice. We are also running a post card campaign directed at Victoria.
Will you please join us at our Town Mtg to help the government and the rest of our province understand the bigger picture. To understand the true impact of their decision. To help our voices to be heard !!
Sincerely, Shannon Shepley & the Cheslakees Pac"
Well I hope it works. I was trying to find the balance between heart & facts. I'll let you know if they show....
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