School trustees from Duncan BC, just north of Victoria, make up the Cowichan District school board and have taken a strong stand against the provincial government’s austerity measures.
The trustees have submitted a “restoration” budget that would see the return of $10.8 million that has been stripped from their district over the years. From the government’s point of view, this would result in a deficit budget for the district and trustees are not “legally” allowed to submit deficit budgets.
The Education Minister, George Abbott, has threatened to fire the board for not fulfilling its legal obligations. The board responds that its legal obligation to meet the educational needs of its students is paramount.
The board has attracted plenty of support from parents and teachers. There have been solidarity rallies in Duncan and Victoria. The July 20 rally in Victoria featured participants wearing red squares for Quebec students, and solidarity greetings from two teacher union locals, Victoria school trustees (whose own restoration budget was narrowly defeated by the Victoria board as a whole), Victoria Labour Council, and a local City of Victoria Council member.
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