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SD62 faces budget deficit – welcomes public input

SD62 Budget priorities survey for 2024-2025

sd62, strategic plan, survey
SD62 Strategic Plan Survey (March 15 to April 5, 2024)

Tuesday April 3, 2024 | LANGFORD, BC

Analysis by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Sooke School District 62 (SD62) says it is facing “the challenge of a budget deficit that demands careful consideration and difficult financial decisions”.

Every year presents the same challenge. School boards in BC must achieve a balanced budget without a deficit. Each year this opens up potential budget cuts. For a fast-growing school district like SD62.

ruth king elementary, school, langford
Elementary School is located in central Langford. [Oct 31/23 / Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

“The Board of Education is working hard to tackle this challenge, making sure every decision fits with the district’s strategic plan and is financially responsible,” says the intro to an online survey about SD62’s budget priorities for 2024-2025.

West shore:

SD62 delivers public education in the fast-growing west shore of Greater Victoria, to families who are resident in Langford, Colwood, Highlands, Mechosin, Sooke, and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. Almost all the schools are located in the larger municipalities of Langford, Colwood and Sooke. There is one elementary school (K-5) in Metchosin and K-8 is offered in Port Renfrew.

The fast-growing population of this region sees more students learning in portables, and students who cannot find a seat within the catchment area of their home address. Continual teacher hiring is necessary to keep up with the growing number of classrooms as more students register. In recent years, many specialty classrooms have been converted back to regular classroom space, which teachers have argued is something that diminishes the overall quality of educational experience.

island earth, landscaping

Currently the largest number of SD62 students are in elementary (K-5) but that will move its way up to the higher grades.

Survey includes broader community:

On the first page of the online survey, the participate is to self-identify as: Student / Staff / Parent-Guardian / Community Member

sd62, strategic plan, survey
The SD62 2024 budget survey is open to students, staff, parents and the broader community. [SD62]

While the survey invites the broader community to participate, it does not offer any room to provide input about specific budget items or categories, just the broad strokes of overall district goals within their 2021-2025 strategic plan.

Expecting the general public to pore through the Strategic Plan and Annual Report is asking a lot of even the best-intentioned. Unless someone is highly attuned to all the current SD62 issues, the survey offers little room for much meaningful input.

Survey link:

“To hear from the community, the district is asking parents, guardians, and the public to take a survey. This survey will gather feedback on budget priorities and strategic goals, helping the district allocate resources effectively.”

Links to the SD62 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and the 2022-23 Annual Report are provided “which provide important context for our budget discussions”. 2021-2025 STRATEGIC PLAN & ANNUAL REPORTS 

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The estimated time to complete the survey is 7-10 minutes. 

The survey closes on Friday, April 5 at 5:00 p.m.  TAKE THE SURVEY

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Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering SD62 news at the board and committee level since 2014.