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SD68 dealing with $4.5 million deficit

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Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district trustees have approved a 30-day consultation period on a two-week spring break, and four other recommendations from SD68’s Calendar Committee.

Board Chair Steve Rae acknowledges it’s a controversial idea, but the district is facing a $4.5 million deficit and they have to make some tough choices.

Rae says they’re working with CUPE to see if they could make it work. He says the rest of the school days would be lengthened by a few minutes to make up for it.

SD68 is also working on a communications strategy to raise awareness about the budget crunch they’re facing.

Rae says their situation is not unique. There are 60 districts in the province all facing similar financial pressure, with less and less funding coming from the province every year.

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Even so, trustees have asked staff to figure out how much it would cost to provide buses from the Cedar/ Cinnabar Valley area to Ladysmith Secondary. Rae says when the board decided to close Cedar Secondary last year, they should have provided buses to students suddenly left without a school in their neighbourhood.

Rae says staff will come back to the next Business Committee meeting with a report on what it would take.

Tonight, SD68’s 90-day consultation period on the school district’s 10 year facilities plan, called “Your Voice 2015”, wraps up with a public presentation at the Shaw Auditorium at 6:30pm.

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