EDITORIAL: Needs budget seems needless

Greater Victoria School District trustees could use their time more wisely

For large organizations, creating a wish list can sometimes be a good exercise to help with goal-setting and determining future direction.

In the case of the Greater Victoria School District, the exercise has become an annual event that indicates what the district could accomplish with more funding from government.

In the years since dramatic cuts to the education ministry budget forced districts to do the same, school trustees around B.C. have had to balance district budgets with lower than historic levels of funding from the province.

To be fair, the needs-based budget, as the Victoria trustees call their wish list, accurately reflects the difficulties the board has in balancing its budget.

But with no signs on the horizon that districts will receive significant financial relief from the province, using staff and trustee time yet again to assemble such fantasy budgets and submit them to the minister of education seems to us a large waste of precious resources.

Similar to department heads in a medium to large-sized private company, administrators at every school in the district must submit their own budgets. And if the overall numbers don’t work, the managers get sent back to find more savings.

Using the needs budget as a subtle reminder to government that more money would be put to good use has become a tired show of political will that most taxpayers would rather do without.

Making education of our children a motherhood issue is fine when there’s plenty of resources to go around. But with B.C.’s economy still stumbling along – a scenario created by far more forces than the provincial government – more education funding from government could only mean higher taxes for all of us.

Many people are struggling to make ends meet these days and doing their best to get through this tough financial time. We expect the same approach from school trustees and ask that they stop acting like dreamers waiting to win the lottery jackpot.

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