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

Slide on Momma Bear run causes Polar Peak to close

One individual trapped in slide, rescued by CARDA

Fernie Skating Club performs annual show

On Saturday, February 18, the Fernie Skating Club braved the cold, and… Continue reading

Outstanding support for Blankman family

“There’s no shortage of support in this town if you need it,” said Maggie.

Ghostriders accelerating towards playoffs

Fernie’s first playoff game of the season is this Sunday, February 25 in Sparwood.

City of Cranbrook culls 50 urban deer

In an effort to reduce incidents of deer aggression across the community,… Continue reading

President praises nearly 1,800 volunteers at B.C. Games

Ashley Wadhwani sits down with the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games President Niki Remesz

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

The way government learn someone has died is getting a digital overhaul

Governments in Canada turned to private consultants 2 years ago to offer blueprint

Bobsleigh team misses Olympic medal finish

Canadian team finishes four-man event 0.84 seconds behind first place, 0.31 seconds from podium

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Fly Fishing Film Fest coming to Fernie, March 1st

On March 1, the doors will open at The Vogue Theatre to… Continue reading

Most Read