Year in Review: Langley schools strapped for cash

2014 ends as it began, in terms of local education – not enough student spaces in Willoughby, and no relief in sight.

Early in the year the district ran the numbers and announced it would cost an additional $23 million to hire enough teachers – an extra 228 – to follow the B.C. Supreme Court ruling on class size and composition. The district budget is $187 million.

In the spring came word that the RCMP was investigating financial problems in the Glenwood Elementary PAC. The investigation started the previous November.

In April the Langley Advance reported that the new $26.2 million Yorkson Creek Middle School which was still under construction and set to open September 2014 would require portables. The district purchased portables for $60,000 to take capacity from 720 students to over 900.

The 2013/2014 school year saw the start of teacher job action with rotating strikes which extended into a full strike and lockout for the start of the school year and lasting until late September. It meant the cancellation of summer school. Students missed 14 days in the 2014/15 school year and a few days during rotating strikes.

The provincial government offered parents $40 per day for the days lost during the 2014/15 year.

The school district announced it would also have to find $3 million in cuts to fund pay increases and other additional budgetary costs.

A municipal election in November brought three new trustees to the table – David Tod, Shelley Coburn and Rosemary Wallace.

The first major decision of the new board was a notice of motion to consider closure of Langley Secondary School.

The board must make that motion under its school closure policy as it discusses several options on how to best use its facilities.

Closure of LSS is one option being examined.

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