Think education this election

Resident concerned about the Liberals' handing of the education system

If supporting education is important to you, please don’t vote Liberal May 14.

Why not?

After all, haven’t the B.C. Liberals promised to “protect education”? And under the Liberals, doesn’t education have the “highest funding ever?”

Here’s what the Liberals’ plan says.

On Feb. 19, 2013, in the Legislature, Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled his budget estimates. Education program net funding for this year is pegged at $5.248 billion, for next year it will be $5.224 billion.

This is a reduction of nearly $24 million.

Now the Liberals tell us that enrolment in public schools is on the decline, and they are right.

In Vernon, for instance, we will have about 175 fewer students next year. As a result, our school board will reduce the number of teachers by 19.

Even with the savings from these teacher reductions, because of other cost pressures (increased MSP premiums, inflation on utilities and fuel, increased pension contribution costs, etc.) the board will still be facing a funding gap of about 1.5 million dollars.

And this is not the first year of such cuts. And we are not the only ones affected. This same situation is facing school boards all across this province.

Now as a voter, you may be fine with that. Perhaps education isn’t that important to you. Fair enough.

But, if like me, you believe that education is the cornerstone of our future, please look at  the policies of the other major parties before you mark your ballot.

The B.C. Conservatives, “commit to ending the Pacific Carbon Trust” and allow schools to keep that funding in their budgets.

The B.C. Green Party is promising to, “move towards a more equitable system of adequately funded education.”

The B.C. NDP is promising “to spend $265 million over three years to hire new teachers, counsellors, education assistants and librarians.”

Some proposals are more supportive of education than others, but none of them represents a step backward like the Liberals’ plan.

 

Barry Dorval

Vernon