Statement from NPA School Trustee Stacy Robertson on Forensic Audit of VSB:
This morning, the Minister of Education announced that a “forensic audit and full review of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) is being launched by the Ministry of Education in the wake of the board’s refusal last night to pass a balanced budget.”
As disappointed as my NPA School Trustee colleagues and I are that the board failed in its duty to pass a balanced budget, we are nevertheless encouraged by the swift and measured response by the Minister.
My NPA School Trustee colleagues – Fraser Ballantyne, Penny Noble, and Christopher Richardson – and I agree that students are, and need to remain, our first priority.
We also share the Minister’s dismay over the rejection of a proposal that would have allowed the board to restore a number of vitally important education supports in next year’s budget – a proposal that was apparently presented to the Minister by the board chair himself!
Our NPA Caucus has been clear: The VSB needs to make some tough decisions to ensure that Vancouver students continue to receive the world class education they deserve. Although not perfect, the rejected proposal would have set us on the path to solving many of the VSB’s deeper budget issues.
The Minister’s measured and thoughtful approach to this difficult situation reflects the hope I expressed on behalf of our Caucus on April 28th; namely, that he consider “ways to work with the elected Board to find reasonable solutions to the district’s systemic budget issues.”
As a parent of students in Vancouver’s public school system, I fully appreciate the impacts of next year’s budget. That said, these impacts are the direct result of the inaction of previous Vision Vancouver led School Boards. My hope is that, together with the Ministry, we can find a solution that is in the long term interests of our students and our school district.
Along with my NPA School Trustee colleagues, I look forward to working with the Minister, the Province, and our fellow trustees, to do the work needed to get the VSB’s fiscal house in order. We must ensure that education dollars are going directly toward student learning and programs and not toward empty classrooms.
In closing, please allow me to wish everyone a happy and safe Canada Day long weekend on behalf of our entire NPA Caucus and NPA team.
NPA Vancouver School Board Trustee
P.S. In case you missed it, I was on Roundhouse Radio’s “Our City” yesterday morning with Kirk Lapointe talking about the VSB budget situation. You can listen to the whole interview below…