For the past 18 years, I have had the pleasure of being the coordinator at Robson Community School. Twenty years ago, the school principal at Robson applied for Community School Status and as a result, $75,000 was brought into this district to set up a community school. A year or two later, Blueberry Creek also received these funds to offer programs for families and the community. As successful programs evolved at both of these sites, the board of education decided that it wasn’t fair (for lack of better wording) that two schools in the north end of the district receive all this money to offer programs that would benefit their families. The $150,000 was then divided three ways, giving $50,000 to the south end for programs. Over the years, we have continually had to fight to keep our funding and in the year 2013-2014 Robson Community School was given $40,000 and Blueberry Creek $20,000.
At a Community LINK budget meeting this May, the majority of trustees voted to take that money and distribute it among the principals who would decide how best to support vulnerable students in their schools. The money was no longer specifically targeted for community schools and could be dispersed at the boards’ discretion. So community school funding was withdrawn.
Prior to that, as a means to tidy up loose ends, I received a letter stating that “Although the School District does not view your relationship with us as one of employer and employee you had indicated that you thought you were our employee, so this letter serves as notice that regardless of what you may consider this relationship to be, it ceases as of July 1 2014.” For 18 years, my payroll and T4s were issued by the school district. The programs that we delivered were of a benefit to the school district.
The district terminated the coordinator, withdrew the funding and then expected a different outcome? How can the board expect a community society to come forward and support programs that our own district doesn’t support? The society was set up 20 years ago as a requirement of receiving community school funding. That funding no longer exists, according to the board, therefore the society will need to take some time to consider what exactly their role will look like in this community.
Former Community School Coordinator