EDITORIAL: School year moves ahead

Supplies and new clothes have been purchased, and routine is returning to many households.

On Tuesday, students across the province head back to class for a new year and it could be a banner one for the education system as it’s estimated there will be 537,589 public school students in 2017/18 school year (up from 4,232 last year). It’s anticipated there will be more special needs and French immersion students in B.C. but fewer indigenous and English as a second language students.

Of course it takes money to operate such a large and complex system, and B.C.’s total education operating budget for public and independent schools in the 2017/18 fiscal year is $5.9 billion.

In a press release, the Ministry of Education points out that per-pupil funding is about $9,100 while government is investing $376 million to hire new teachers and specialty teachers in classrooms across B.C. for the 2017-18 school year.

That is all well and good but we should remember that the NDP have only been in power since summer so these figures likely reflect decisions made by the former Liberal government, an administration the then-NDP opposition blasted for bungling the system.

It will be interesting to see how the NDP, with Green support, manages the system as the year proceeds, and if any additional investments will be made that benefit students, educators and support staff.

But politics aside, a new school year is exciting for everyone involved in the system and particularly students and families. We wish you all of the best.

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