VANCOUVER, B.C. – At tonight’s School Board meeting, Green Trustee Lois Chan-Pedley will put forward a motion directing staff to investigate additional income sources beyond Ministry of Education and Child Care funding.
Chan-Pedley’s motion asks staff to report back on the opportunities and challenges of creating a Vancouver School District Foundation and a Vancouver School District Company in order to better support VSB students.
“It’s time to explore innovative ways of meeting the needs of Vancouver’s students,” said Green Party Trustee Lois Chan-Pedley. “The funding we receive from the Provincial Government is simply not adequate.”
The formation of a foundation will provide an opportunity for donors to contribute funds for specific purposes to support students in schools while the formation of a business company, of which the District is the only shareholder, will allow for the profits earned to be returned to the District in the form of dividends.
“Greens want to provide students with the best learning opportunities available such as music programs, outdoor education, as well as the mental health support needed to cope with the multiple crises our children face daily. Instead Trustees must reckon with the reality that our current funding can not even cover the bare necessities.”
The Vancouver School Board has a budget structural deficit for 2022, meaning there is not enough funding to cover its expenses. In recent years, the Vancouver School District has relied on using surpluses from prior years to balance the budget, a practice that is not sustainable.
“Eliminating our structural deficit is the responsibility of the Board and we should investigate all means possible to that end,” argued Chan-Pedley.
“In an ideal world all of our students' needs would be met with Provincial funding. Unfortunately, Trustees must make impossible decisions that negatively affect students, just to balance the books.”
In the Vancouver School Board's most recent budget survey, a majority of respondents showed interest in alternate funding options.
“The public has demonstrated a willingness to think outside the box and I for one am happy to champion independent funding models if it means better opportunities and outcomes for the students we were elected to serve.”