ELECTION 2017: Parties square off on schools

No matter who wins, B.C.’s schools will see an influx of education funding after May 9



First in a series of Black Press B.C. election coverage leading up to May 9

Regardless of who wins the May 9 provincial election, there will be millions more dollars and thousands more teachers entering the public school system.

This election follows the Supreme Court of Canada’s November decision to reinstate terms for class size and special needs support removed from the B.C. Teachers’ Federation contract in 2002, when Premier Christy Clark was education minister.

The ruling B.C. Liberals moved quickly to end 15 years of bitter conflict in the courts and on picket lines, first announcing interim funding for 1,100 more teaching positions. The BCTF estimated going into budget talks that it would take $300 million a year more to comply with the agreement, and the BC Liberals offered that and more in negotiations that continued after their February budget.

READ: School funds added as BCTF talks continue

The offer was endorsed by the BCTF executive and the bargaining agent for B.C.’s 60 school districts. In March, 98 per cent of teachers voted to accept the deal that promises 2,600 additional teaching positions.

READ: B.C.’s legal battle with teachers’ unions cost $2.6M

The BCTF continues its political activism, running campaign ads referring to “15 years of cuts” a urging voters to choose “a government we can trust with our kids’ education.” In fact the B.C. education budget has risen each year, despite declining enrolment in most districts over the past decade.

The B.C. Liberal platform includes a pledge to review the current per-pupil formula for funding school districts, after tinkering with it in recent years to prevent rural schools from closing while focusing capital spending on new schools for growing urban districts.

READ: Province funds 2,600 more teachers

The B.C. NDP platform builds on the increased spending in the B.C. Liberals’ pre-election budget, plus an additional $29 million a year for classroom supplies. The NDP also proposes to remove fees from adult basic education courses offered to complete high school studies.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver wants to bring in an enormous expansion of kindergarten, currently at full days for five-year-olds. The Greens want to expand that to include three- and four-year-olds, after a daycare program for children up to age two with working parents. All would be free to parents.

Weaver proposes to increase public school funding by $220 million this year, on top of the $330 million increase in the current deal accepted by the BCTF. That would rise to $1.46 billion in extra funding by 2020-21.

 

Who will do what?Create your own infographics

@tomfletcherbc

tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Take only what you need

Anne White of Harrison comments on community response to COVID-19.

WATCH: Agassiz-Harrison celebrates National Puppy Day

Facebook followers posted 44 pictures of their furry friends

LETTER: The importance of local grocers

C. and B. Lang Randall reply to an ALR-related letter

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read