March 2 BC budget announcement
Public education advocates are anxiously awaiting the March 2 budget speech. We need and expect an appropriate increase in education funding to deal with overcrowded classrooms, reduced student services, depleted school district resources, and overdue school maintenance.
This unprecedented crisis was not created by boards of education. Faced with ever-rising costs that the province’s education funding formula does not cover, many communities have already suffered the loss of viable schools and critical programs as boards struggle to cope.
The Association of School Board Officials (formerly secretary-treasurers) has emphasized that the public education system desperately needs an immediate injection of $300 million in 2010–11 to offset a funding shortfall. The downloading of costs and unfunded initiatives to school boards by the provincial government include:
- loss of the annual facilities grant
- teacher salary and benefit increases (provincially negotiated)
- new carbon tax and carbon-offset charges
- increased MSP and WCB premiums
- new costs for implementing full-day Kindergarten
- additional costs of provincially legislated class-size limits.
Mark your calendar! Join our coalition partners:
- The Teach In, March 20, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Vancouver Public Library
“What Cuts?” What Impacts?” “How do we react?”
- “Build a Better BC Coalition” rally Saturday, April 10, 11:00 a.m., at the Vancouver Art Gallery, to stop cuts to public and community services.
The mission of the “Build a Better BC Coalition”
Community service groups, cultural and arts associations, and unions joining together as one voice to call on the provincial government to:
- immediately stop eliminating public and community services.
- fulfill their legislative responsibility to provide adequate, fair, and consistent funding to support public services and community groups.
- work in consultation with groups and individuals to build public and community services that give every individual the democratic opportunity to participate in building a better BC.
Statement of purpose of the “Build a Better BC Coalition”
The strength of British Columbia is our people. We each contribute in unique and different ways, through our talents, ideas, and hard work to build a better BC.
Building communities where every woman, man, and child is treated with fairness, dignity, and respect is a shared responsibility. When government singles out groups of individuals—by cutting services they depend on, raising fees inequitably, and unfairly shifting taxes—it diminishes all of us. It doesn’t bring us together. It divides us.
The purpose of the “Build a Better BC Coalition” is to bring us together. The public, community, and cultural services that we have built together over the years contribute greatly to a vibrant and diverse BC. They help to ensure that every British Columbian can participate and share in a quality of life that is recognized around the world.
Public, community, and cultural services are essential cornerstones of a civil society. They are a critical component of our economic well-being, especially in difficult economic times. A strong public sector to support, build, and regulate the private sector is vital to the social, environmental, and economic health of the province.
Due to drastic funding cuts, chronic underfunding, and misaligned political priorities, many of these services are at risk of disappearing, putting our way of life and the environment at risk. Many of the cuts affect the most vulnerable people in our communities, particularly women, children, isolated seniors, and those with the lowest incomes. It is unacceptable for government to take more from those who have the least, in order to give more to those who have the most.
Your organization is invited to join the “Build a Better BC Coalition”
The coalition is an evolving, loosely structured, non-partisan alliance. It includes groups that represent artists, cultural workers, seniors, students, healthcare advocates, educators, social service agencies, environmental activists, the faith community, and unions.
All of these groups have been affected by a thousand government cuts in service levels we provide directly to clients, in lost jobs, and in lost opportunities. As well, the cuts have a perilous impact on our vulnerable people, our communities, our environment, and our civil society. We have joined together to speak out on these issues because we believe we are stronger together than alone.
We urge you to consider joining the coalition as an organization. Send a delegate to the next coalition meeting. The BC Federation of Labour has been kind enough to help co-ordinate the meetings. Please contact Jessie Uppal at (604) 430-1421, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for the time and place of meeting.