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

Island Health, service providers meeting to talk about used needles in Victoria

Recent public needle-prick incidents prompt call to reduce number of needles found

Dozens rally outside Premier’s office for sick Sooke boy

Six-year-old Landen Lanthier needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Announcement for Sooke Road improvement expected this week

Premier promising ‘preliminary’ work, with more on the way

Victoria airport reaches nearly two million passengers in 2017

This year expected to see additional growth

The 38th annual New Year Classic saw 172 players in 226 matches

New lights in Oak Bay tennis bubble illuminate local talent

Saanich signals support for in-fill developments in Gorge-Tillicum

The Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood continues to experience infill. Council’s committee-of-the-whole signaled Saanich’s support… Continue reading

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Wanted by Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers for the week of Jan. 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Most Read