Teachers remain concerned about education budget

By on February 26, 2003

The B.C. Liberals persist with the fiction that they are “protecting” education, but students and teachers in classrooms around the province will continue to suffer because of inadequate resources and deep ongoing cuts, according to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.
“Despite the premier’s announcement on television last week of $100 million extra for B.C. schools, there are actually no new dollars going into education for 2003-2004,” said BCTF First Vice-President Jinny Sims. “This means students will be deprived of services they desperately need, and used to receive, before the Liberals slashed their way through our school system.” Teachers are deeply concerned that, while total operating expenses for public schools are down by $12.9 million, the government has increased funding for private schools by $10.5 million, Sims said.
Finance Minister Gary Collins today announced an $80 million increase for 2004-2005 and $60 million for 2005-2006, but the amount for next year is nil. In addition, although he announced an increase in residential school property taxes of 2.5 percent, schools will not get any of those new funds next year.
Growing community outrage has increased pressure on the Liberals to reverse their damaging policies, but the news out of today’s budget indicates that parents and concerned citizens will need to keep organizing and lobbying to protect their neighbourhood schools and services to students.
“This year, parents, students, trustees, and teachers have come together in an unprecedented way to advocate for kids. Unfortunately, this budget means we will have to continue working hard, speaking out, and writing letters. The cost to kids in the past year has been huge,” Sims said, “The Liberals have cut $210 million, decimated services to students with special needs, increased class sizes, eliminated 2,000 teachers, and closed 44 schools in the so-called heartlands.”
“The cuts this year have had a devastating impact in the classroom, and next year’s cuts will compound the problems. Our students can’t wait three years for the government to change direction because by then the damage will already have been done,” she said. “We hear the minister promising all these millions far into the future, but we’ve had too much experience with the Liberals and their broken promises to feel certain that these dollars will actually materialize.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *