18 jobs on the line as Delta School District faces $3M deficit

  - File Photo / The Leader
— image credit: File Photo / The Leader

The Delta School District is proposing cutting the equivalent of about 18 employees in an effort to address a projected $3.28-million deficit for next year.

Increasing student-teacher ratios is just one of the recommendations being made to balance the district's operating budget for the 2014-15 school year – a move that would result in 10 full-time teaching positions being cut.

As well, it's being proposed about five staff who work with children with special needs of those requiring English language assistance be eliminated. The equivalent of one-and-a-half clerical staff would also be cut from the school board office or other district facilities, and another couple of employees would be laid off if a school teaching cafeteria at Delta Secondary School (DSS) is eliminated as planned.

To soften the financial blow, the district is hoping to increase the amount of money it takes in from its international student and continuing education programs.

The proposed budget reductions would total about $1.78 million, with the rest of the anticipated deficit covered by $1.5 million from the district's reserve funds.

A public input meeting was held at the district's Ladner location Tuesday (April 15), where most of the speakers decried the potential loss of the cafeteria program at DSS.

Laura Dixon, chair of Delta's Board of Education, said every effort will be made to ensure the effect of the budget cutbacks on students is minimal.

"The budget reductions are dispersed across every department in the school district," said Dixon. "We have taken this approach in an attempt to minimize impact on student learning."

According to the school district, several factors, including negotiated support staff salary increases, reduced funding for busing, increases to utility and employee benefits costs, as well as carry forward of last year's deficit, have contributed to this year's shortfall.

Under B.C.'s School Act, school districts must submit a balanced budget. Delta trustees are scheduled to vote on their operating budget April 22.

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