Jobs for people whose role is to guide high school students through life after graduation may no longer exist in the Greater Victoria School District in September.
Career coordinator positions are one of many areas the school board plans to cut in its 2022/2023 budget. This decision would save up to $343,490 against a deficit of $7.2 million.
Career coordinators at Mount Douglas, Reynolds and Lambrick High Schools say the losses would far outweigh the savings.
Programs that give students free access to post-secondary credits, connect them with local employers, and help them apply to college and university are all organized by career coordinators. They organize career evenings, welcome university speakers and organize mock interviews.
Students can come to them anytime for one-on-one sessions to discuss what they do or don’t plan to do after graduation and for advice on how to get where they want to be. want to be.
“That thing never happened,” said Lynne Turnbull, Reynolds’ career coordinator. Parents of high school students likely have little idea about the opportunities and pathways available now because they weren’t available when they were in school, she said. However, career coordinators are aware of all the avenues students can take.
Because school counselors — who are also on the potential budget block — are often very busy providing mental health support, career coordinators sometimes take on the role of guidance counselors as well, said Stephanie Dawson, who holds that position. last role at Mount Doug. Much of what they can provide is emotional support, especially for students who aren’t sure what steps they want to take.
Some of their work even earns income for schools. When coordinators link students to trades programs, funds are reinvested in related courses and equipment.
If the posts are cut, up to seven people – one for each SD61 high school – will be out of work.
“We have nowhere to go,” Dawson said. “It’s not like a teacher where they can just find another teaching job.”
But she, Turnbull and Lambrick Park coordinator Cindy Croucher, said it’s not their wellbeing that worries them so much. They fear that prospective students are not getting the help and support they need to embark on a new chapter in their lives.
“I want to fight for this position, whether I do it or someone else does it,” Croucher said.
The women are ready to defend their positions before the SD61 board during the April 4 budget debate. A petition they started online had about 675 signatures as of March 17.
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