The recent throne speech and budget failed to come through for children and education despite the premier’s statements that funding for health and education was going to be protected. BCTF President Irene Lanzinger pointed to the fact that nothing was put forward to help alleviate child poverty or improve learning conditions for students. The minimum wage remains unchanged and other areas of social services will be cut perpetuating the problems that teachers face every day in their classrooms.
Despite strenuous efforts to bring to the government’s attention the need to deal with oversized classes and lack of support for students with special needs, nothing has been done and the budget for education contains no provision for improvement. It is predicted that the so-called increase will come nowhere near to covering inflationary increases to present commitments.
The increase to the public K–12 system is set at $60 million for 2009–10. That is an increase of 1.26%, which is less than inflation, and will not cover salary increases. This budget will force districts to make cuts. Boards of education have already been told to find $12 million in “administrative savings.” Based on early calculations, that $12-million cut is only the beginning. Students, teachers, and parents should brace for more cuts when the 2009–10 school year begins.