BCTF President Irene Lanzinger said today’s announcement about school district funding levels will lead to more education cuts in communities across BC.
“The BC Liberals promised they would protect public education in their most recent budget,” said BCTF President Irene Lanzinger. “Today we learned the government is once again breaking that promise. There will be cuts because school boards will be forced to grapple with significant shortfalls."
Overall, the increase to public education for BC is just over 1%. That’s less than inflation and far less than government-mandated salary increases. In fact, school districts have already been told by the Ministry of Education to find $12 million in administrative savings. Across BC, there are at least 33 districts that will see their budgets frozen. With increasing costs pressures like salaries, transportation and utilities, that will mean significant shortfalls and more cuts to education even in situations where there is declining enrolment.
“It doesn’t matter what community you live in, your children and their teachers will have to endure more cuts to education as a result of this budget,” said Lanzinger. “In communities like Prince George, Quesnel, the Comox Valley, and Kamloops there will be no increases. Their budgets have been frozen. In other communities like Vancouver and Victoria, the increases will not be enough to even cover basic cost pressures imposed by this government.
“This government says it is protecting education, but it refuses to provide the funds to even meet its own legislated standards for class size and support for children with special needs,” said Lanzinger. “There are more overcrowded classes today than in 2005. Now, we know it’s only going to get worse.”
There is no specific plan in this announcement to reduce class size or improve support for children with special needs. Across BC, there are more than 3,300 classes with 30 or more students and 11,000 classes with 4 or more students with special needs. That is higher than in 2005 when teachers first went on strike to improve learning conditions for BC’s students.
“It has been more than three years since the strike and things are worse today for BC students,” said Lanzinger. “It’s clear today that the government’s Learning Round Table was never more than public relations and politics. There has been no progress. The Premier’s Learning Round Table has failed.”