VANCOUVER—School staff across the Thompson Okanagan region will fight a regressive change to the provincial school funding formula—and they now have the support of the B.C. Federation of Labour.
Earlier this week, delegates to the B.C. Federation of Labour convention passed an emergency resolution demanding a reversal of the regressive policy and a review of public school funding.
Representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ Thompson Okanagan School Coordinating Committee (TOSCC) say that the change, which was imposed on school districts part way through the current year, could see a claw back of up to $5 million in the Thompson Okanagan region’s nine districts alone.
“Frankly, we are shaking our heads wondering why any monies are taken out of budgets when the province is boasting multi-billion dollar budget surpluses,” says John Hall, president of CUPE 3500 in the Kamloops school district.
“School boards, who submitted approved budgets to the ministry in June, have been ambushed by the change. The Minister of Education should do the right thing and restore the funds for this year,” says Gerry Beauregard, vice president of CUPE Local 523, representing staff in four school districts.
The formula change, which reduces funds that school districts receive for less than full-time students, was implemented with no notice, no prior consultation and several months into the current school year, leaving school districts in the Thompson Okanagan region with unexpected shortfalls.
CUPE locals representing staff in nine districts in the region say that while the final impact of the change is not yet known, the cuts fiasco underlines just how disconnected the school funding formula is from the real costs of running our public schools. CUPE and the B.C. Federation of Labour will be lobbying for restored funding and a broad-based review of public school funding.
CUPE’s Thompson Okanagan School Coordinating Committee is made up of five CUPE locals representing school support staff in nine school districts in the Thompson Okanagan region. TOSCC includes CUPE 523 members in SD 19 (Revelstoke), SD 53 (Okanagan Similkameen), SD 67 (Okanagan Skaha) and SD 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap). It also includes CUPE 3500 in SD 73 (Kamloops Thompson), CUPE 5523 in SD 22 (Vernon), CUPE 3523 in SD 23 (Central Okanagan), CUPE 847 in SD 58 (Nicola-Similkameen) and CUPE 173 in SD 74 (Gold Trail).
For more information: CUPE national representative Rob Hewitt (250) 859-1963