A Call-out to all professional artists who were “saved” by their school arts-based programs

Hello there, my name is Marnie Perrin and I'm the Artistic Director of the Surrey Children's Festival, I'm a stilt-performer, and I'm a mother of two creative young daughters.  I attended the School Trustees Public Forum discussing the budget shortfalls for the VSB on April 18th and was shocked at what I heard.  The budget shortfall affects all school districts in BC.  Band programs across the board are on the chopping block.  If children don’t have access to art programs in school, many will not have access, as parents can’t afford private lessons.  What state is this province going to be in 5, 10, 20 years if children aren’t exposed to quality artistic practices through school?  Please pass this call-out onto anyone who has a story to tell, we need them all.

Vancouver School Board band programs in jeopardy!  What's next?

Calling all professional artists who were “saved” by their school arts-based programs. 

The Vancouver School Board is budgeted for a 18 million dollar deficit which means that the provincial government is not giving them enough money to cover their costs.  As such, all band programs across the board are going to be cut, unless we can get the provincial government to put more money into the budget. 

We are looking for stories of any professional artists, actors, musicians or other,  that got inspired due to their school program.  “Did art save you?”  What about the kids that don’t excel in academics or that don't like sports, where do they go?

Please  e-mail the stories to savedbyart@gmail.com  We will make sure the Minister of Education gets the message.

More information below. 

Dear Friends,

The Vancouver School District is facing an $ 18.12 million shortfall in provincial funding for the 2010/11 school year. Without additional funding your school district must make deep spending cuts that I believe will be harmful to our schools and our students.

An $18.12 million shortfall will cause the loss of over 190 full-time equivalent jobs, cuts to school libraries, music programs, special education support, ESL support, a shorter school year, fewer course and program options and a loss of support to vulnerable students in our inner-city schools. Our children and youth deserve better. We know that there is no better investment in the health and prosperity than education, and we need the provincial government to live up to its commitment and responsibility to fully fund our schools.

For months the Minister of Education has refused to provide funding to cover provincial cost increases to the VSB budget and protect important education services. We submitted requests to meet with the Minister last fall but were only granted a meeting for April 23, 6 days before we must pass our budget.

Minister Margaret MacDiarmid cancelled our April 23rd meeting and responded to the VSB by issuing a press release saying she was appointing a Special Advisor to review VSB finances. This was a total surprise; we have sent her invitations to our public budget meetings and included all our budget documents. It's unfortunate that the Minister of Education is choosing to go this route, but let me clear, we will make every effort to help the special advisor do her job.

To find out more about what Vancouver School Trustees are doing to advocate for our public schools, please go to http://www.vsb.bc.ca/advocacy.

Best wishes,

Patti Bacchus


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