Letter: Get informed, speak up on Coquitlam schools budget

The Editor,

Re. “Interested in school budgets? Have your say” (tricitynews.com, Jan. 4).

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Education is a long-term investment and fundamental to the well-being of our society. Children of today will be our leaders of tomorrow. And if we want our society to continue to thrive, we need to invest now.

I applaud School District 43 for holding a public meeting in advance of drafting the budget for the first time to seek the public’s input.

But what sort of input?

The public often expresses that it doesn't have a voice in the decisions made in our community. Now there is an opportunity. But to provide proper input, members of the public also have a responsibility to be informed citizens. To quote Thomas Jefferson: “A well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy”.

And yes, there is plenty of information to read: budget process consultation guide, SD43 financial statements, financial statement discussion and analysis, to name a few that add up to hundreds of pages — not exactly bedtime reading.

Yet as a member of my community, I think there is a responsibility that I should at least try to stay informed.

My question for SD43 is that while there are strategic goals at a high level and amounts of various expenses reported at the detailed level in the previous budget (e.g. how much SD43 spends on salaries), there is little commentary on how SD43 goes from the high level goals to how the funds are actually allocated to the expense items. For example, how does “Goal #1 Achieve Student Success” translate into the budget?

Well, that’s my comment. What are yours? See you at the budget meeting on Feb. 11. 

Homing Leung, Coquitlam

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