The board of SD72 is a bit concerned about the cuts they’ll be forced to make due to an increase in their payroll tax. Mirror File Photo

Campbell River board of education worried about effect of new payroll tax

‘At present the provincial budget has allocated no additional funds to offset this cost increase’

The provincial government’s announcement of a 1.95 per cent payroll tax for businesses with a pay roll of more than $1.5 million has got the Campbell River School District board worried.

At their last board meeting they approved a letter drafted by the communication committee calling on the government to provide adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for education.

“This tax will have a heavy impact on this districts ability to deliver programs that the Ministry of Education has mandated and that we believe are essential to our students learning and future success,” said Trustee John Kerr, reading the letter to the board.

The board estimates that by the time medical services premiums are eliminated in 2021, the school board will be paying around $815, 000 in payroll taxes, and that is without wage increases.

That is almost double what the district is currently paying now in MSP, which is just over $433,000.

“At present the provincial budget has allocated no additional funds to offset this cost increase,” Kerr said.

“So the board will be required to cut services in the amount of an average of close to $256,268 over each of the next three years in order to balance the budget. In effect the move to a payroll tax will be a de facto budget cut for SD72 and every other board of education in the province.”

In addition to the payroll taxes, the board is anticipating increased costs from BC Hydro, inflation and a continuing funding decrease in what the previous government called “administrative savings.”

“The board of education of SD72 is strongly requesting that the provincial government seriously consider addressing these increased but unfunded costs,” Kerr said.

“Our board and boards of education across the province are continuing to be placed in an unsustainable situation which is occurring as a result of under funding by this and previous provincial governments.”

The letter was addressed to Rob Fleming, B.C.’s minister of education.