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Budget session quiet for once for Delta school trustees

After years of hearing from upset stakeholders, Delta school trustees get a welcome reprieve this week

It was a decidedly different atmosphere than previous budget consultation sessions for the Delta school board Tuesday evening.

Trustees were to hear from the public on next year's budget, which like many previous ones has a deficit needing to be rectified. However, unlike past budgets that had the board trim teaching positions, educational assistants, student transportation or make other painful reductions, including closing a pair of schools a few years ago, this year's $2 million deficit will be handled differently.

The books will be balanced with additional revenues, government funding as well as carrying some debt forward. None of the actual cuts planned are to directly impact the classroom or programs.

The result was a rather quick meeting at the board's headquarters that didn't feature the usual cast of upset teachers, parents or other stakeholders. The only person in the audience to speak on the budget was Delta Teachers' Association president Paul Steer, who reiterated many of the concerns expressed by teachers when asked for their feedback by the DTA.

"From the input given to us by our members, maintaining and increasing classroom teacher, non-enrolling teacher, CUPE and principal and vice-principal staffing should be the district's main priority," he said.

Steer said more teachers are needed to improve class size and composition, more support is required for special needs students and other staffing issues need to be addressed, including principals for every school.

He reiterated that custodial and maintenance time needs to be increased and conveyed teacher concerns about art, math, music, physical education and textbook supplies.

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