BURNABY One hundred and thirteen schools have been closed in BC since the Liberals have been running this province, says Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President. Unfortunately, Forest Grove is the latest in that long line.
Parents in the tiny community of Forest Grove, near 100 Mile House are fast becoming the poster child for the plight of rural and urban community schools right across the province. This group has put the case of School District 27 on the map by refusing to allow anyone to board up the school and remove the equipment to another school.
In fact, District 27 is just the latest in a long list of school closures 99 closed between 2002 and 2004 and 24 pending in 2005, including Forest Grove.
And there might have been even more school closures, said ONeill, if parents, workers and school boards in other districts had not agreed to have their public school days radically cut in order to stay within the provincially under-funded school budgets in communities.
ONeill is mindful of the fact that while the Liberals continue to increase funding to private and independent schools, public schools like Forest Grove are forced to close their doors because of reduced enrolment, invariably caused by Liberal economic policies that have caused thousands to move away from BCs so-called heartland.
What will it take to wake this government up to the fact that their cost-cutting and re-engineering in education will burden this province for years to come, by taking away good quality, accessible educational services?
ONeill commends the parents and other community members in Forest Grove and in communities in various parts of the province for taking action to save their schools and their childrens educational potential. Unfortunately, Mr. Christensen and his boss Mr. Campbell dont seem to be listening.
Sometimes it takes direct action to make both media and politicians wake up to the negative effects of short-sited actions that really save a very small amount of money, but, in the long run, cause considerable harm, says ONeill.
For more information on Liberal cuts to BC schools go to www.cupe.bc.ca and click on the green tower.
CUPE BC President