Trustee Terry Allen

Government-mandated cost-sharing won’t benefit Surrey School District: Trustees

School districts shouldn't be forced to participate, says Terry Allen.

  • Oct. 23, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Surrey school trustees say the provincial government is forcing the school district to participate in a money-saving measure that not only won’t save Surrey dollars, but may add costs in the long run.

The issue lies with the sharing of services between B.C. school districts an initiative of Bill 11, the Education Statutes Amendment Act passed earlier this year.

The idea is to reduce overhead in individual districts by sharing costs for services such as technology, transportation or legal services.

Trustee Terry Allen, who’s a representative on BCPSEA (B.C. Public School Employers’ Association), said Surrey recently learned it will be mandatory for the district to share labour relations and employee liability services.

“We have a huge labour relations department that deals with all our grievances and staff concerns. At the end of the day, the Surrey School District will continue to do business as usual. But now we’re going to have to pay to be in the shared services.”

Allen said the government has indicated sharing labour relations services between districts will save about $1 to $2 million annually for the province.

While  sharing such services can benefit smaller school districts that have limited staff and resources, Allen says there’s no advantage for Surrey.

“We’ve worked hard to become an efficient labour relations department and we’ve saved millions.”

The government has said the first year of sharing labour relations services will likely be free for school districts, but it’s unclear how much each school district will have to pay after that.

Allen fears that if it’s like other costs, it’ll be based on enrolment. And if that’s true, as the largest school district in B.C., Surrey’s tab would be the highest.

When Bill 11 was introduced, many school boards voiced concerns about the legislation, saying it eroded their rights as elected officials. Those concerns linger.

“We have no problem with shared services, but boards should have a choice,” said Allen. “I’m elected to decide what we will and will not spend money on. Basically, we’re being pushed into something.”

Last spring, the education minister of the day, Peter Fassbender, assured boards would maintain “considerable autonomy” but made it clear all districts needed to participate in “finding efficiencies.”

Surrey has requested to meet with the CEO of BCPSEA, the body implementing shared service agreements, as well as the executive director of the Service Delivery Branch.

The B.C. Ministry of Education did not return The Leader’s phone calls requesting comment.

 

Just Posted

Surrey’s new Age-Well hub receives $3.5M in government funding

Hub is meant to drive development of healthy tech solutions to support healthy aging: SFU

Surrey public event to explore transition from RCMP to city police force

Surrey Board of Trade continuing its ‘Hot Topic Dialogue Series’ with this issue, on Tuesday Jan. 29

Dancer gives props to Surrey school program for allowing him to leap to world stage

North Surrey grad Bynh Ho in ‘Loop, Lull’ show at Vancouver’s PuSh festival

KidSport’s Nite of Champions to honour championship Coastal FC squad

Annual South Surrey event will feature Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green as keynote speaker

Surrey RCMP investigating alleged ‘stranger assault’ in Tynehead area

Police say a 14-year-old girl was walking home from school at the time of the incident

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Most Read