Recycled funding announcements still leave many public schools searching for money to meet basic needs.
BURNABY Theyve now made the same announcement regarding public school funding BC at least three times, says CUPE BC president, Barry ONeill, and the money still doesnt add up to what the BC Liberals have taken out of the public school system in the last three years.
The president of the union that represents the single largest number of support staff working in public schools throughout the province is speaking out the day after the BC government announced the operating funding for each school district in the province.
The Minister is flying around talking about how much more money theyve put into the system. He doesnt talk about what theyve taken outestimated at $420 million dollars since 2001or how much costs like heating, hydro and health premiums have gone up or even how much those costs will eat up the so-called budget increases, says ONeill.
ONeill points out that Education minister, Tom Christensen, while making announcements every two days, refuses to speak with many stakeholders who disagree with his opinion on life in BC public schools, including parents, teachers and support staff who are still carrying the burden of the original Liberal cuts.
ONeill is referring to the ministers refusal to meet with CUPE and Teachers in communities like Maple Ridge and the Gulf Islands communities that have been hard hit by the Liberal governments enrolment-based funding formula.
Christensen cant get out of town fast enough when anyone dares to press him for more details on anything, says ONeill. He wont answer questions like why are some school districts still cutting school days out of the year, introducing the four day school week and cutting back on custodial and clerical support if the provincial government is being so generous. Recall that when the Liberals were making deep cuts they blamed school boards for mismanagement! Whats there excuse now.
CUPE BC is also waiting for the minister to comment on the mysterious fact that private and independent schools are on the increase at the same time as public school enrolment is down. Could that have anything to do with the Liberal governments generous funding of private and independent schoolslike Bountifulout of the public purse, asks ONeill?
Greater detail on provincial education funding and its effects on the public school system in B.C is available from the recently published CUPE research publication entitled BC School Watch: Examining the fine print in K-12. The 120-page book is available for viewing at www.cupe.bc.ca.
Information: Barry ONeill, CUPE BC president (604) 916-8444 or Louise Leclair, Communications Representative (604) 291-1940 or cell (604) 454-4711.