On May 28, OneCity Vancouver School Board trustee, Carrie Bercic, brought a motion to reverse proposed cuts to non-enrolling teaching positions in the district’s 2019 budget. Bercic’s motion proposed that the budget be revised to accommodate those teaching positions, which include essential support staff such as counsellors, teacher-librarians and Resource teachers who provide support for students with special needs.
“8.43 positions is a nominal amount in the budget,” said Bercic. “Putting students first means we must find a way to serve students who are most adversely affected by these proposed cuts.”
Unfortunately, her motion lost by a 7-2 vote, backed only by Vision truess Ken Clement. Bercic may now oppose the budget when it comes up for adoption in June.
Bercic is one of nine trustees elected in the October 2017 special byelection to replace the previous board which had been fired by the former Liberal provincial government. The new board also includes three Green Party trustees (one of whom is chair Janet Fraser), three from Vision Vancouver, and two NPA members. Compared to the previous VSB boards, this group is widely seen by public education supporters as less committed to tackling issues of inequality in the school system.
Another motion by Bercic was adopted, calling on the Provincial Government to discontinue funding for elite private schools (not including Designated Special Education Schools and Band Schools), and re-direct those funds to the public school system.
OneCity’s platform demands a well funded public education system, with equal access to education – not only for the wealthy. Bercic’s by-election campaign was run on the premise of defending, protecting, and enhancing neighbourhood schools and services for students.