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The BC Teachers’ Federation was heartened to hear that public education is a top priority of the NDP government. However, without a significant funding commitment that goes beyond keeping up with the growing population, Budget 2024 won't make a dent in solving acute staffing shortages in schools, BCTF President Clint Johnston said.

“Teachers need a lifeline, and we didn’t see that in this budget,” Johnston said. “While we appreciate that this isn’t an austerity budget, what we really need is bold action to ensure every student gets the support they deserve.”

In 2023, BC saw its highest population growth in 30 years, and with that has come more students in schools. To support the growing number of students, Budget 2024 invests $968 million in new funding over three years. This includes providing more teachers and support staff in classrooms—but maintaining staffing levels that are already too low isn’t enough.  

The Federation had hoped to see funding support for a workforce strategy with a multiyear plan for recruitment, retention, and training. An important component would include closing the estimated $350 million gap between what the province provides for inclusive education and what school districts actually spend, so they aren’t forced to pull that funding from other important programs and services.

“No student should have to go without the resources and support they need to thrive, but that’s what happens when there aren’t enough teachers. Teachers are doing their best, but they need more help.”

Beyond the staffing issue, Budget 2024 includes some positive commitments to build and maintain schools, to support students with diverse needs. It also includes investments in housing affordability and childcare—issues that are important to our members and the families they serve.

Budget 2024 highlights (fiscal plan covers three years)

  • $968 million to keep up with growing enrollment including more teachers
  • $4.2 billion to build, renovate, and seismically upgrade schools
  • $255 million for the Classroom Enhancement Fund, including special education teachers and school counsellors to keep up with enrollment
  • $30.3 million for learning supports to support students with dyslexia and related learning differences in K–12 system.

Missing from Budget 2024

  • a targeted teacher recruitment fund to relieve current K–12 staffing shortages
  • a targeted teacher retention fund to enhance retention of the current workforce and improve working conditions and supports for students
  • funding for special education staffing and services that fully covers what school districts actually spend on inclusive education.

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