Anglophone South District Education Council passes controversial budget

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WATCH: The Anglophone South District Education Council is voting on its budget Wednesday night in Saint John – Nov 13, 2019

The Anglophone South District Education Council (DEC) narrowly voted to pass its budget Wednesday evening in Saint John, N.B., after the budget was already approved by the province’s education minister.

The budget was passed by a vote of 5-4 after the DEC rejected the previous two budgets put forth by the district, an apparent move to protest a shortfall in funding for educational assistants.

READ MORE: Education council rejects Anglophone East School District budget proposal

But provincial Education Minister Dominc Cardy bypassed the council and approved the budget passed by the DEC on Wednesday.

The chairman of the District Education Council says Cardy now has some fence-mending to do after sending what was described by some as a confrontational, threatening and bullying letter last week.

“I think it’s up to the minister now to take some steps to repair the damage,” said Rob Fowler. “It’s obvious from the comments made around the table tonight that he has bluntly pissed off a lot of people around this table with his approach.”

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In the letter, Cardy said he has the authority to impose a budget as education minister. He also suggested he could dissolve the elected body if the situation wasn’t resolved.

The letter also included increased financial oversight over the district from the province. It goes from quarter reporting to monthly monitoring at least for the time being.

READ MORE: Controversy follows N.B. Attorney General’s Facebook comment on District Education Councils

Fowler tells Global News the extra oversight will be onerous on staff with the additional responsibilities.

Cardy is quoted as saying that if the council approves the budget, he’d be open to revisiting the financial monitoring schedule.

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