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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 20, Number 1, September 2007

A letter to the premier

Congratulations for having a $4 billion budget surplus for the coming fiscal year—representing first-rate budgeting practice.

This surplus provides your government with a golden opportunity to become the first province in Canada to provide a free educational program for all our children in the public school system--at an estimated cost of only $45 million.

This modest sum, representing a 1% increase in the operating budgets for all Boards of Education, allocated on a per-student enrolment basis, would permit boards to offer a first-rate educational program to all school-age children, completely free of charges or fees, as envisioned in the School Act, Section 82.

This very modest operating budget increase would no doubt provoke other provinces to emulate this practice—thus making Canada the first nation in the Western world to offer free public school education to all its school-age children.

You, personally, would acquire huge public support, Canada-wide, for making our public school system truly equal and responsive to the educational needs of all our children—the rich and poor alike, which unfortunately is not now the case.

Again, I urge you, in the interest of treating all our children alike in the public school system, to allocate a 1% increase in the operating funds of every school district—in order to enable schools to offer "fee-free" educational programs for every child.

Were you to stage a media event to announce this proposed, unique policy aimed at making BC the first public school system in Canada to offer a truly "free of charge" educational program for every child, you would receive very wide commendation, support, and gratitude from every citizen in the province.

John Young, president and trustee, Greater Victoria Board of Education #61

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