Working together best for students

Re: Cowichan makes students a priority, Letters, June 16.

To the Editor,

Re: Cowichan makes students a priority, Letters, June 16.

Kip Wood is wrong when he suggests that the Nanaimo/Ladysmith board of education made cuts to programs and services in its 2012-13 operating budget.

We passed a balanced budget without cuts. The board did this thanks to a combination of good management (the work of the “suits” as Wood names them) and the funding protection of the Ministry of Education.

While the funding protection is welcome and helpful, it is important that a new funding model be developed in the public education system in British Columbia.

The board has also received more than $1.4 million through the Learning Improvement Fund. This money was made available thanks to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation successful challenge of Bill 28, the oddly titled Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act.

This money is to be spent on hiring more teachers and education assistants. We hope we can improve student achievement in our district by providing more improved support for teachers in our schools. All teachers hired through this program will be based in schools.

Wood’s comments demonstrate part of the problem facing public education. During the past year, he and his colleagues have abandoned respectful and constructive discourse with district boards and administrators.

I hope this pattern will change and we will be able to work together in the best interests of the students in the district. The recent decision of teachers to now participate in the district strategic plan consultations is one step in that direction.

Jamie Brennan

board chairman

Nanaimo school district

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