crossing guards 

By Alix Noble The Howe Sound School Board has given notice to all crossing guards in the district. The cuts have been made in order to maximize the funds available for classroom instruction. "We were quite brutal in trying to keep as much focus on the classroom as possible," Howe Sound School District Superintendent Doug Courtice said of the school board budget approved last week. Although the school district’s budget increased for the coming year, it hasn’t kept pace with the number of new students, meaning an overall decline in funding of $22 per student. Courtice blamed the Ministry of Education, saying that although it had promised no per capita drop in funding, the 4,200 students in the area will have to live with the results of budget cuts. The budget is preliminary, and there is room for future redistribution of funds. Courtice said there is a possibility that the issue of crossing guards will be revisited. More than $200,000 will be cut from administrative funds as well. Myrtle Philip Elementary currently has two crossing guards who won’t be back in September. Leanne DuFour, who has a child at Myrtle Philip, said of the decision: "It’s a big mistake. The funds should be made available in some way. What good is it to have your children going to school if they can’t make it there alive?" There is currently no alternative plan to ensure the safety of students crossing at busy intersections, but Courtice expressed the hope that the school board would be able to find a plan agreeable to everyone.

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