BC Liberals’ latest budget will lead to more instability and uncertainty for BC schools as downloaded costs continue to outpace government funding, BCTF President Irene Lanzinger said today.
“The government wants British Columbians to believe they are protecting education, but students, parents, and teachers should brace for more cuts,” said Lanzinger. “More schools will close, there will be more overcrowded classes, and teachers will be laid off. The government continues to be in complete denial about its role in education cuts.”
The government claims that there’s enough funding to meet the needs of BC’s public education system, but the small amount of new funding is far exceeded by rising costs. The government is asking school districts to use the small funding lift to fund salary increases and full-day Kindergarten. However, there is no new funding to deal with rising transportation and heating costs. The government also refused to fund MSP and pension increases.
“The math just doesn’t add up,” said Lanzinger. “The government is playing a shell game and it is BC’s students who are going to lose.”
Lanzinger also raised serious concerns about the government’s inability to manage BC’s public education system. In September, the government threw school districts into disarray by cancelling the $110 million in Annual Facilities Grants. The government also transferred CommunityLink funding for inner-city schools to BC’s gaming grants program. That decision forced millions of dollars of cuts to arts and sports programs. Both cuts have now been partially reversed but the instability the government caused will never be reversed.
“This government has no long-term plan to improve classroom conditions for students. There’s no plan to improve class sizes or support for students with special needs, and there is no plan to prevent school closures.”