Parents in the Hanover School Division are concerned with upcoming budget cuts for the new school year.
Carla Campbell is on the Parent Advisory Council at Green Valley School in Grunthal.
“As our kids are looking for their high school courses this next year, they're not finding keyboarding, which is a basic skill that every kid uses considering how in high school a majority of their work is done on the Chromebooks and in Google Classroom,” she says.
Campbell adds they have also learned that their drama program has been cut for next year.
“Which is astounding to us and devastating because we just finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here in Grunthal and had amazing success, and the parents loved seeing their kids on stage, acting,” she says. “PAC did it as a dessert theater fundraiser, and the kids, the students were staying in character and serving their parents. And just the feeling in the gym during that time was something we haven't experienced in many years.
“Many years we haven't been able to have a production. We finally were this year, and next year we don't have a drama program. That is a huge thing for our students. And you talk mental health as well, drama is an outlet for students to help with that and if we don't have it, it's just yet another resource we're missing and yet another opportunity our kids are missing out on.”
The school division held a PAC liaison meeting to offer clarification on the budget cuts and to answer questions from parents. Campbell says they had a lot of parents attend the meeting, and it was helpful as they learned more about the financial challenges the board is facing.
"We need increased funding from the province to be able to offer robust (programs) and continue to offer robust programs for our students,” says Superintendent Shelley Amos. “And sometimes the province does say the school division sets the priorities. And that is true, but we can only set priorities with the funds that are given to us, and we need additional funds.”
Campbell says she understands that cuts had to be made when funding was reduced, but she is very disappointed that it has to happen and now worries how this will impact children across the division.
Meanwhile, she is grateful the Hanover School Board is advocating for more provincial funding and Campbell hopes the necessary dollars will come in sooner rather than later.
Hanover recently met with the education minister and deputy minister to discuss problems with taxation and how the current system impacts the school division.
In early April, the school board chair and administration met with all four MLA’s representing constituents in the division.
The Hanover school board had to cut $2.7 million dollars from the budget for the 2023-24 school year. A variety of programs and staffing were impacted.
-With files from Carly Koop