Teachers are concerned that the dire needs in public education are being ignored by the BC Liberals, even as they prepare to intervene once again in the collective bargaining process.
In today’s pre-election Throne Speech the government called for labour peace in BC schools, but offered nothing to deal with the consequences of a previous decade of underfunding.
“Negotiations have already opened using the constructive framework agreement signed by both sides,” noted BCTF President Susan Lambert. “It is very unhelpful for government to interfere in the bargaining process by floating its trial balloon of a 10-year deal. There are far more serious issues that government should be addressing.”
Growing school board deficits, looming school closures, overcrowded classrooms, and reduced services for students with special needs are all due to BC Liberal policies, yet nothing in the Throne Speech acknowledges these realities or sets any sort of plan to address them.
Lambert noted, for example, that the government-appointed trustee in Cowichan Valley has identified 10 out of 17 elementary schools for possible closure to deal with a $3.7 million shortfall. Alberni and Kootenay Columbia school districts are also contemplating school closures. Coquitlam school district is facing a $7.5 million budget deficit this year.