The government’s latest Speech from the Throne shows the BC Liberals are still in denial about the funding crisis hitting schools and classrooms across the province, said BC Teachers’ Federation First Vice-President Susan Lambert.
“Parents, teachers, and students wanted to hear a commitment from government that substantial new resources would be invested into BC’s public education system,” said Lambert. “Instead, the government came up with some vague schemes and lofty language, all the while ignoring looming school closures and thousands of overcrowded classes.”
In a recent report to education partners, the BC Association of School Business Officials, which speaks for school district secretary treasurers, said the K-12 system needs an extra $300 million in the coming school year just to maintain current levels of service.
“If the BC education system does not get an immediate injection of new funding, or relief from costs downloaded by government, students will face more overcrowded classes and more school closures,” said Lambert. “The government can find $500 million for a new roof on BC Place, but they refuse to protect our public education system from devastating cuts.”
Lambert also raised concerns about vague government proposals at a time when the current system and students sitting in classrooms today are not getting the support they need.
“The government needs to make a commitment to adequate funding first,” said Lambert. “The government can’t constantly add new programs if the system’s basic needs are not even being met. Let’s get the resources in place to support children sitting in classrooms today and then look at new programs. BC’s education system cannot sustain more unfunded schemes from a premier with a notoriously short attention span.”