The Campbell government has once again brought down a budget that totally fails to deliver to K–12 education.
“It is unbelievable, really, that in a province as wealthy as BC and with a budget surplus, this government continues to short-change kids,” said Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation.
There is no new funding for K–12 despite many new requirements. There is nothing for new requirements for physical education, new English curriculum, or new requirements for carbon neutrality for school districts. The projected budget has not provided a single dollar for these.
The budget provides no money for lowering class sizes to those promised in Bill 33. It provides no money for students with special needs and the specialist teachers to support them. It provides no money for teacher-librarians, despite claiming that improved literacy is a major goal of government.
“It’s as if the premier has completely forgotten that his government is responsible for education funding in this province,” said the BCTF president.
The government’s usual response to teachers’ demand for more classroom resources is that it is spending a “record amount” on education. But teachers disagree. In 2006–07, the per-pupil funding was $38 less than it had been in 2002, and $200 less than in 1990.
Because of this continued underfunding, BC is the only province in Canada where the trend is to ever-worsening student/teacher ratios. The budget does not provide any money for much needed improvement for class size and students with special needs.
The budget offers no new money for students. “Our children deserve better,” Lanzinger said.