Somewhere along the line between consulting British Columbians and standing up to vote in the legislature some of our MLAs dropped the plot.
The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services made these recommendations for K-12 education in BC as part of their report last November on the fall’s 2016 Budget Consultations.
These committee members then voted for a provincial budget that failed to implement the K-12 recommendations:
Scott Hamilton (chair), MLA for Delta North
Dan Ashton, MLA for Penticton
Eric Foster, MLA for Vernon-Monashee
Simon Gibson, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission
Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie and
John Yap, MLA for Richmond-Steveston
Now some of their constituents’ schools are being closed – due to a lack of funding.
Judge for yourself. View the Select Committee on Finance and Government Services’ “Report on the Budget 2016 Consultations” (pdf).
K-12 education funding is addressed on pages 8 to 11 of the report (pp20-23 of the pdf)
Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson is MIA.
Larson was only too happy to announce $271,000 in improvements to Osoyoos Secondary School (OSS) just four months ago in a November 9, 2015 media release.
“Work is expected to be completed by spring 2016,” says the release. And completed just in time! OSS are now to be closed and students bused to Oliver.
Naturally, her constituents don’t want their town’s only schools closed and their kids bused half an hour down the highway.
They also want an explanation from their MLA who represents them in Victoria – and they want their concerns heard. Here’s what the local paper had to say: Continue reading #MIAMLA: BC Liberal MLA in hiding over school closures
FACE: Families Against Cuts to Education
We invite parents and citizens all over the province to show their FACE on April 12th by holding rallies in their communities to protest provincial cuts to public education. We are hoping that our family-friendly rally in Vancouver will spark a province-wide day of action in support of our public education system. Continue reading Parents! Show your FACE and speak up for public education in BC.
On April 8, 2013, Premier Christy Clark visited Lord Tennyson Elementary School in Vancouver. There with the backdrop of photogenic students, Clark announced funding for seismic upgrades to 45 high-risk schools across BC — including Tennyson.
“Absolutely nothing is more important than keeping our kids safe,” said Clark in her speech at the school.
And why did she announce the funding just eight days before the launch of an election campaign?
“Earthquakes don’t wait until elections are over,” Clark said. “I am going to make sure we do the things we said we were going to do right up until the writ is dropped.”
In 2005, the BC Liberals promised to complete seismic upgrades to high risk schools by 2020. Eight days prior to the 2013 election, Clark renewed that same promise to British Columbia parents.
Last week, she broke it. Continue reading Hit your government like a ton of bricks. Before your kids get buried under them.
So, budget cuts are coming to your school district. Our school boards have been clear: these cuts will have impacts on your child, their classmates, classroom services and programs and your local school. We get it, you are angry. You want you child to have the education they deserve — we can afford it in this rich province we live in. But if you want that to happen you will have not just be angry but act — and not alone.
Organize Continue reading Organize!
Updated: July 8
The provincial budget delivered a double-whammy to School Districts across BC this year.
The budget fails to provide school districts with the funds to pay for increases to such as the provincially-controlled MSP and BC Hydro rates, as well as to absorb the costs of inflation. Many of the boards had already begun their budget development processes for the 2015/16 school year and likely anticipated this budgetary pressure.
What they didn’t anticipate that boards must now find an additional $29 million in ‘administrative savings’ in 2015/16. Then there’s the another $25 million to be cut in 2016/17, and another cut in 2017/18.
So cuts are coming to your school district. Boards are clear too, these cuts will have impacts on your child, their classmates, classroom services and your local school.
What to do about it? Continue reading What’s getting cut from your School District’s budget? And your kid’s classroom?
As school boards make cuts to implement this budget, parents’ anger will return.
Many parents might drift through the budget announcement hearing little the high-level ‘analysis’ of a ‘balanced budget’ from the media. Day-to-day, they’re just trying to make a living and do their best for their families. Most have other more immediate concerns.
This will change. Continue reading BC Budget 2015: So, whose kids go under the bus first?
An Open Letter to Finance Minister Mike De Jong
I’m sure you and the staff at the Ministry of Finance are busy preparing BC’s 2015 Budget. While you’re all working on it we thought a gentle reminder is in order. Think of it as a suggested new year’s resolution.
“Adopt the K-12 education recommendations of the Report on the 2015 Budget Consultations and increase K-12 education funding.”
We all know the committee made similar recommendations last year and you ignored them. But this year it’s different. There was a strike. Parents now know about the underfunding of our schools. Continue reading Time to get it done, Mike. Our kids have waited long enough for adequate education funding.
It’s time for parents to speak up for our kids’ public education and it’s funding.
Over the last few weeks we’ve seen parents speaking out online about a lack of textbooks, overcrowded and under-maintained schools. We’ve heard about unsafe and out-of-date shop classes. We’ve heard about special needs kids going without assessment and without services. We’ve heard of libraries without librarians or the funds to replace or buy new books. The list just goes on…
Government needs to know hear these things directly and on the record — not just through their monitoring of social media. We urge you to present your views to our MLAs and your government through the BC Legislature’s 2015 Budget Consultations.
It’s OK to admit that you’re nervous. And it’s OK to ask for help presenting your arguments. Preparing your ideas and turning them into a letter, video or presentation can seem daunting. There is help!
Sue Hammell, the MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers has stepped up to offer assistance. On October 14, she is offering a workshop for parents on presenting to the Select Standing Committee on Finance.
Speak Up for Public Education: present to the finance committee
Date and time: Tuesday, September 14 at 6pm
Location: 100 – 9030 King George Boulevard, Surrey
To register: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604.590.5868
Charlene Dobie, Surrey School Board Trustee
Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake and Education Critic
Helesia Luke, Researcher Continue reading Speak up for BC public education funding. MLA offers a how-to workshop.
Textbooks. They seem like a pretty basic part of school. Many of us have memories of being handed these tomes each September and returning them in June. Along with school nurses, full-time counsellors in each school and the daytime custodian, this fixture is a thing of the past for many schools.
It seems our province and our schools are “too poor” to afford enough textbooks for each student in each class. They are not in the “affordability zone” for our kids, like they were for us. Continue reading Textbooks are a basic part of school. BC just “can’t” afford them.