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Langley schools face huge budget cuts; teachers ask for meeting with MacDiarmid

Langley teachers, facing disastrous cuts in their district's budget next year, are asking for a meeting with Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. Even if they get it, they won't get much support from their own school board.

In an interview with The Tyee, Langley Teachers Association president Susan Fonseca said teachers are seeking an urgent meeting with the minister to prevent a $3.3 million cut out of next year's operating funds--with similar cuts in the following two years.

The cuts are intended to pay back $8.3 million in overspending last year, but Fonseca said the true total is $9.2 million.

"Many school districts have deficits," Fonseca said, "but we have an actual debt. So with a stable enrolment of about 18,000 students, we will be down $15 million in spending from last year. Our services are already cut to the bone."

The LTA blog is running recent news stories about the problem in an effort to raise public awareness of the problem. The Hook has reported earlier on the story here and here.

Contacted by The Tyee, Langley school board chair Joan Bech said: "I understand their concern, and I share it. But we have a debt and we have to pay it back."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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