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

BCElection2017_logoBRegardless 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.

 

Just Posted

Ladysmith, Stz’uminus celebrate ‘Salish Wind’ unveiling

Ladysmith and Stz’uminus residents gathered together last Wednesday night to witness the… Continue reading

150 flags to be raised at Ladysmith’s Aggie Hall for National Child Day

Ladysmith Family and Friends leads project to have children, but also a few adults, paint 150 flags.

Heavy rainfall causes sinkhole along Ladysmith street

Heavy rainfall and the resulting erosion caused a sinkhole to form early… Continue reading

Second boat sinks in Ladysmith Harbour in less than a month

A boat has sank in Ladysmith Harbour marking the second such incident… Continue reading

Chemainus Festival takes theatregoers on comedic Christmas trip to Cancun

Grab your sandals and 80s Christmas sweater and let Chemainus Theatre Festival take you to Cancun.

UPDATE: More searchers out looking for missing senior near Nanaimo

Search and rescue personnel from all over the Island are looking for 73-year-old Faye Hanson

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Drones take off to search for missing North Okanagan women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

Most Read