February 22, 2017
- A potential Agreement-in-Committee on implementation of our restored language is close
- Budget 2017—What’s in it for K–12 education?
- Poverty Free BC Week of Action
- Opportunity for Members: Ministry of Education committee
A potential Agreement-in-Committee on implementation of our restored language is close
Discussions between the BCTF and the employer and government on implementation of our restored language are nearing a possible conclusion. To be clear, we are not there yet, however, the pieces are coming together and there is a strong likelihood that an Agreement-in-Committee is likely to be reached next week. The Federation's goal remains to see all our restored collective agreement language on class-size, class-composition, and specialist-teacher ratios back in place in time for the spring staffing process.
This would mean that the 2017-18 school year would start with the language in place. Once reached, and if recommended by the Executive Committee, the Agreement-in-Committee will be sent to all members for review and there will be a province-wide vote. Locals have been provided with information about voting procedures. If an Agreement-in-Committee is reached more information will be sent to you. Please read on below to learn more about yesterday's budget announcement and how an agreement will be funded.
Budget 2017—What’s in it for K–12 education?
In its pre-election budget released February 21, the provincial government announced several hundred million dollars more in funding for public education. In his comments to the media, BCTF President Glen Hansman said the new budget announcements were “an admission that when it comes to education funding, the government has had it wrong all along.” He also said, “all of the funding increases announced today are because this government has been forced by the courts, by demographics, and by public anger to finally respond to their record of underfunding our schools and students.” Glen's full comments and reaction to the budget are in the BCTF's news release from yesterday.
Here are some of the key details:
- $320 million over three years as the continuation of the $50 million agreed to in our Memorandum of Agreement from January. The $50 million was for half a year. Therefore, the per year amount is $100 million, plus inflation. This is interim funding “pending the conclusion of the final agreement.” This money would be rolled in to the cost of implementing restoration of the language. More importantly, there is also a $400 million contingency fund. The government has publicly stated that our final agreement on implementation will be funded from this $400 million contingency.
- $228 million over the next three years in new funding to address increasing enrolment trends.
- $54 million over three years to eliminate school bus fees. This is an annualized amount from the rural transportation fund announced last spring.
- $29 million in one-time funding for supplies to support the revised curriculum.
- $2 billion over three years for K-12 facilities.
Two good news stories to read and share are Tracy Sherlock's piece in the Vancouver Sun and Ian Bailey's article in the Globe and Mail. Also, an editorial in the Victoria Times Colonist takes the government to task for its 15-year long record of underfunding education.
Poverty Free BC Week of Action
You and your students are invited to participate in the Poverty Free BC Week of Action, which runs from February 25 through March 4. Each day of the week will focus on one of the seven pillars of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition's (BCPRC) Poverty Reduction Plan. The week will end with a rally at 12:00 p.m. on March 4 at the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library.
The Poverty Free BC Week of Action resources for teachers document, on the BCTF Antipoverty Action Group web page, provides a list of resources and activities to use throughout the week.
Lower Mainland teachers and students are welcome to attend the many events taking place during the week. For a description of each event, visit the Poverty Free BC Action Week page on the BCPRC website.
On February 28, the action day focussing on public education, teachers and the public are invited to participate in the BCTF's Hungry to Learn Webinar on Poverty and Education in BC. This webinar will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Register for this event now. Those unable to tune in live can watch it later on the BCTF YouTube page.
On February 28 and during the week of action, we encourage BCTF members to host events in their schools, locals, or communities to help make poverty an election issue. The Hungry to learn PowerPoint presentation and Hungry to learn speaking notes were developed to support teachers in raising awareness of the impact of poverty on BC students and families and the need for a poverty reduction plan in our province.
Opportunity for Members: Ministry of Education committee
The BCTF is seeking two public school teacher representatives willing to participate as Federation representatives to the Ministry of Education's Annual Instructional Plan (AIP) Template for the MyEducation BC Development Team. Learn more about the positions and apply online.