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BACK TO SCHOOL: Board chair looks to getting back to routine
Classes are in session across School District 43 after a two-month break and The Tri-City News asked key individuals how they think schools will manage under increased financial constraints and what they hope to accomplish in the coming months.
Routine. Boring, dull and blessed routine.
That's what Melissa Hyndes, chair of the School District 43 board of education, is hoping for after the 2012/’13 school year was spent mostly on finances and getting rid of a burgeoning deficit.
Now, with most of the tough decisions out of the way — including 142 job cuts made to whittle down a $12.1- million deficit — Hyndes said she expects things will go back to normal.
"Normal" in the past has given SD43 plenty to be proud of: one of the highest graduating rates in the province and high achieving students. It has been a "lighthouse" district for new programs and professional development, and Hyndes said she thinks budget cuts made earlier this year won't impact too greatly on these accomplishments.
"If there are bums in seats, there will be teachers in the classroom and supports for children who need them," said the Port Moody trustee.
For the most part, parents and students won't notice the changes but she said administrators will have to work harder to cover positions, such as that of retiring student services principal Dave Taylor, who isn't being replaced. His duties will be taken over by an assistant superintendent.
There may be longer waits for assessment and counselling services — critical for student services — but students will still get the help they need, she assured.
As for what she is sees for the near future, Hyndes said hiring a new secretary treasurer is a priority, as is launching the district's new Learning Without Boundaries plan to enhance learning opportunities for students.
WHAT WAS CUT
School District 43 job cuts in full-time equivalents (FTE)
• teachers — 78.6
• administrators — 5
• educational assistants — 21.2
• support staff — 28 (5 custodians, 12 clerical, 7 maintenance grounds, 2 IT, 2 community school co-ordinators)
• other professionals — 6
• staff development — 12.6