Vancouver School Board Votes to Continue Contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Board & Committees, Community, Schools & Students

After careful consideration, the Vancouver Board of Education has decided to continue its contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to provide an update to their 2012 Resource Allocation Report.  The decision came after Minister of Education Peter Fassbender offered to reimburse the Vancouver School District for any cancellation costs incurred if the District chose to withdraw from its contract with PwC.  Late last week, the Minister announced that he would be appointing a special advisor to review the district’s budget processes and suggested that the Board could cancel its original contract with PwC.  

“Our Board gave very careful consideration to the Minister’s offer. Ultimately, although we appreciated the Minister reaching out, we felt that the district would benefit from staying the course with our original plan,” says Board Chairperson, Christopher Richardson. 

Richardson indicates that the Board felt that although there is the possibility of some minor duplication between the two reports, the district will benefit from the continuity provided by PwC, who are familiar with the district’s finances after having authored the previous report in 2012.

In an effort to minimize the impact on staff who will be working on preparing a draft budget between now and the end of April, the Board also voted to request that the Minister delay the start of his special advisor’s review until after the PwC report has been completed.  Ministry staff had previously indicated that the first draft of the special advisor report would not be completed until May 31, after the Board’s 2015-2016 Preliminary Budget has been passed.  The Board needs to make a decision on the Preliminary Budget by April 30 for contractual and operational purposes.

“We are committed to submitting a balanced budget and to working cooperatively with the Ministry as we navigate these challenging financial issues,” says Richardson.  “We’re confident that our original plan to work with PwC will benefit the district by helping us continue to develop a long term financial framework that supports the engaged learning that Vancouver public schools are known for and will enable us to become more financially sustainable for years to come.”