Schools bracing for shortfall

Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun

The Vancouver board of education says it will have to make significant cuts to services and programs again next year unless the government provides a significant boost in funding.

It’s predicting an $11.8-million shortfall for 2011-12 -roughly the same as it was facing last spring when Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid ordered a review by the comptroller-general to help the board balance its 2010-11 budget.

Trustees insisted that review provided no valuable information and said financial woes won’t disappear until the ministry provides enough money to cover increases in salaries and benefits as well as inflationary costs for goods and services. The board is forecasting $495.5 million in expenditures next year but only $483.7 million in revenue.