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The CEO of British Columbias P3 agency favours public private partnerships for the provinces schools, despite major problems with a similar scheme in Britain.

Partnerships BC CEO Larry Blain endorsed Britains Partnerships for Schools scheme at the annual conference of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

CUPE BC was quick to respond, pointing to damning findings from Britains audit commission. The independent watchdog found P3 schools have numerous problems, including inferior design and delayed construction, higher costs for cleaning and maintenance, loss of local control, disruption of teaching and even reduced student achievement.

Faced with a dismal PFI track record, the British government shifted its tack, unveiling Partnerships for Schools. But this new program is little more than P3 public relations spin. Pitched as giving more local control to school building projects, the model still focuses on P3s and the privatization of school support services.

In November, CUPE also helped make plans for a secret meeting of school district trustees very public, exposing a planned discussion of widespread privatization that threatens up to 2,000 school support jobs in the Fraser Valley. Buoyed by a recent CUPE conference on defending public education, members across the province are mobilizing to fight this and any other privatization in public schools.

Visit www.cupe.bc.ca for conference information and analysis of Britains Partnerships for Schools program.