Choice cuts

Naoibh O’Connor, Vancouver Courier

“I’m relieved to see none of you look like executioners,” Hilary Mason told trustees as she sat down to make a presentation at Monday night’s budget feedback meeting at Mount Pleasant elementary school.

Mason, a parent of a Vancouver School Board student, was one of about 75 people who .. to talk potential education cuts.

Speakers focused on diverse points, including funding for aboriginal students, multicultural liaison workers, gifted students, special needs students, libraries, clerical workers and adult and ESL students, but the message was similar and not unexpected–don’t cut services, staff or programs that are struggling to meet student needs. And in many cases, the speakers wanted the district to inject more money.

Mason, who began by saying she knew proposed cuts “were made under duress rather than out of their educational merit,” was one of several to urge trustees not to cut the district resource teacher for preschool position from five to two days a week. She said the teacher oversees the transition of children with disabilities and complex medical needs from daycares, preschools and homes into the school system each year. “Currently, [the] VSB does a good job of supporting these children’s successful transition into kindergarten classes across the city. Please don’t turn a success story into a nightmarish failure. The children who will lose out if this position is cut back will never recover what they have lost,” she said….

The board still has to slash an estimated $8.4 million from its 2011/12 budget. The final vote is May 5….