The need for more funding was the overall message presented by the Howe Sound Teachers Association at the School District 48 school board meeting Wednesday (April 12) evening.
Several teachers gave testimonials at the meeting in regards to the 2006/07 preliminary budget presented to teachers last week. According to Howe Sound Teacher's Association president Carl Walker, the individual statements were an attempt to "outline the effects of under funding on the students."
"The result of under funding is that my average students have become more vulnerable," said Selene Johnston, a grade six/seven teacher at Squamish Elementary in her personal statement to the board. "The schools are not adequately funded. I am respectfully asking the new board to rethink the 2006/07 budget."
Johnston said she was concerned the school board had become "top heavy"; a concern shared by Walker, who said funds were not going to the best place possible.
"We are concerned about the number of administration positions at the board office, despite reductions in teaching staff occurring at the same time," he said. "We are also concerned there is not enough funds for learning resources, equipment, supplies and that students with special needs won't receive the support they need to be successful."
Johnston also outlined "gray area" students who she said were average students who needed attention, but did not meet the requirements of a student with special needs.
"These gray area students are without designations. They languish. They are not engaged," she said.
Colin Schafer, a librarian at Howe Sound Secondary and Hilary Fisher, a teacher from Brackendale Elementary, also spoke at the meeting. Fisher asked the school board directly, "Why are we allocated $49,000 less in this year's spring budget?"
The school board made no comments at the meeting Wednesday and said they would make a response to the teacher's statements by April 26.