The new government's update to Budget 2017 includes significant new investments that are going to make a very positive difference for students, schools, and vulnerable children across BC, said BCTF First Vice-President Teri Mooring.
“With hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for public education, children in care, and mental health, the government has moved quickly to make good on their promises to BC students, parents, and teachers,” said Mooring. “With this budget, the government is fulfilling its commitment to fund the thousands of new teaching positions that flow from our Supreme Court of Canada win. The budget also includes new funding for immediate space needs in schools and a plan to inject even more funds into public education as enrolment increases.
“For too long, BC schools struggled under the weight of a BC Liberal government that underfunded rising costs and never met the financial obligations they downloaded onto school districts. After 16 years of cuts and conflict, BC teachers will be heartened to finally see a budget that makes public education a priority.”
Mooring added that this budget is an important shift towards a more balanced economy and fairer taxes.
“With small tax increases for the wealthy and big corporations, the government is taking a long-overdue step towards making BC's strong economy work for everyone. These changes will help improve funding for public services like health care and education that all people in BC rely on.”
Other highlights of the Budget 2017 update include new spending for important services for children in care, poverty reduction, and mental health and addictions.
“BC teachers see the impacts of poverty, mental health challenges, and inadequate access to social services in our classrooms every day,” said Mooring. “It is a relief to see this government make significant new investments in poverty reduction strategies, child protection, and mental health and addictions.”
Mooring also pointed to two small, but important investments that will make a real difference and speak to the character of this new government. “Restoring funding for adult education and providing free post-secondary tuition for former children in care will help our economy and provide meaningful opportunities for some of the most vulnerable people in BC.”
Looking forward to the full budget in February 2018, Mooring said the BCTF will continue working with government to ensure BC has a robust teacher recruitment and retention strategy and adequate funding to properly implement the revised curriculum and new Aboriginal education initiatives.