With only two weeks before BC school districts must finalize budgets for the next school year, BC Teachers' Federation President Glen Hansman is calling on school board trustees to speak up for more provincial funding and decisive government action to ensure the next school year starts with the smaller classes and better student supports in place that all three political parties promised.
“Parents and teachers have been working hard to push for all the necessary government funding and the successful implementation of our teachers' court-restored collective agreement for months,” said Hansman. “What we haven't seen is a concerted effort by school boards or elected trustees to ensure their districts have the full funding required to deliver the smaller classes, more specialist teachers, and better supports for children with special needs that were promised. As the June 30 deadline for school district budgets rapidly approaches, too many districts are still contemplating cuts to teaching, CUPE support staff, and other front line services instead of pushing for the provincial funding they are owed.”
Hansman pointed to two news stories this week that show school boards are not getting the funding they need to meet the needs of students or achieve compliance with the collective agreement that was restored by the Supreme Court of Canada. In Langley, for example, a district official said publicly that they are waiting for the government to provide the full funding necessary to hire the new specialist teachers that the district needs. And in Kamloops, the school district is looking to lay off as many as 18 education assistants because of a lack of funding certainty from the provincial government.
“BC students need all of the adults in the system, like teachers and education assistants that are already in place, plus the additional teachers mandated by the agreement on implementing teachers' restored collective agreement,” said Hansman. “School districts shouldn't be making any cuts to front line education services. If they are, then they're not doing their jobs. They should be out advocating for the funding they need and an end to the political uncertainty that has paralyzed government decision-making.”
“Teachers, parents, and the public expect improvements for students after all these years, not more shell games with public education funding. School boards shouldn't be using the Supreme Court of Canada ruling to make cuts to any educational services.”