VANCOUVER, B.C. – Green Party Councillor Pete Fry has filed a notice on motion to ensure the city maintains its funding share for Vancouver School Board (VSB) Meal Program through the end of the school year. The motion requires that the VSB improve on the efficiency of the program by reducing the cost per meal in order to secure funding beyond the end of the year.
City Council was scheduled to vote in March on a staff recommendation to reduce funding for the program from $320,000 to $160,000. City staff, noting that VSB school meal programs cost more and have less reach than similar city-subsidized programs.
“It’s about balance - of course, we have to worry about efficiencies and how we spend the city’s money, but at the same time, we don’t want to risk subjecting vulnerable children to school-day hunger which would impact their ability to learn and their general health,” said Fry.
The Vancouver School Board was made aware of the proposed cuts in January which prompted Green School Trustee, Estrellita Gonzalez to inquire with her Green colleagues on council.
“Now that we are aware of the problems we will work tirelessly with staff to improve the program and protect these much needed meals; I only hope that the cost per meal does not come at the expense of nutritional value for the children who need it most,” said Gonzalez.
Fry’s motion also calls for the Mayor to write a letter to the Province requesting increased investment in school meal programs in BC, working toward a universal meal program in all schools.
Motion: Interim Funding for School Meal Program