At an emergency meeting of the Vancouver Board of Education this Wednesday, COPE (and Vision) school trustees will be demanding a reversal on the shocking and unexpected elimination of the District’s 2009-2001 $10.6 million Annual Facility Grants (AFG).
The AFG covers provincially related programs (e.g.. fire extinguisher and asbestos abatement testing), electrical, mechanical and basic maintenance upgrades.
According to COPE School Trustee Allan Wong, who chairs the Board’s Planning and Facilities Committee, “to delay repairs at many schools will result in much costlier expenses for tax-payers in the long-run. In many cases, the health, safety and basic needs of students will be impacted by the loss of the funds.”
Over the years, COPE Trustees have consistently put forward motions calling for the province to adequately fund school facilities maintenance and upgrades. The November, 2006 motion was defeated by the then-majority NPA administration.
School trustees expect that layoffs – which have already begun in other districts – are unavoidable unless the Ministry works with the boards to come up with a reasonable resolution.
Trustee Wong continues, “for the Ministry to expect Boards to channel operating funds to cover facilities funding is incredibly damaging. To think this will not impact our students shows that the BC Liberals are making decisions with blinders on.”