The adviser tasked with reviewing the Greater Victoria School District’s (SD61) controversial budget process has been named.
Joan Axford spent nearly 14 years as secretary-treasurer of the Saanich School District and has worked as a financial consultant since retiring from that position in 2011. Now, SD61 has asked her to review their budget process and make recommendations on how to proceed to its board.
The district announced it would be bringing on an outside adviser on Monday (May 17), while also deciding that night’s scheduled budget vote would be postponed until further notice.
SD61 has received considerable pushback from the community since publicizing its proposed $7 million in cuts in early April. Music programs, educational assistants, reading programs and supports for vulnerable students are among the items on the chopping block.
Most recently, the district came under fire for its approach to Indigenous learners throughout its budget talks. The Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association released an open letter expressing its disgust over a “pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership” and Indigenous ad hoc committee member Carey Newman resigned citing systemic racism.
In its May 17 statement, the district said it has heard the feedback from the community “loud and clear.” Axford was brought on to help bring some fresh expertise to the situation ahead of the June 30 budget deadline.
More information on the adviser’s review process can be found at sd61.bc.ca
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