Christy Clark plays politics with school upgrades in Vancouver

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fleming-reading-kidsVANCOUVER— The refusal to fund school upgrades in Vancouver shows that students are being forced to pay the price for Premier Christy Clark’s political whims, say the New Democrats.

“It’s appalling that students in the Vancouver school district will be stuck with leaking roofs and damp classrooms because the premier is playing politics rather than looking after the needs of aging school buildings in B.C.,” said New Democrat education spokesperson Rob Fleming.

“It’s clear that Premier Clark is not there for Vancouver students, parents and staff,” said Fleming. “Students in Vancouver deserve better.”

Last week, the education minister revealed a list of 109 projects at schools which would receive a portion of a $35 million capital maintenance fund. Vancouver applied for $5 million in projects but was completely shut out. The B.C. Liberal-friendly NPA school board chair expressed dismay that the Clark government could be so petty.

“Vancouver was the only district to be shut out,” said Fleming, “and the Clark government didn’t even have the consideration to notify them in advance. This entire exercise seems like a means of getting photo-ops for B.C. Liberal MLAs.

“The routine maintenance fund itself is inadequate,” said Fleming. “There are schools around the province in dire need of significant upgrades, and that doesn’t even include the resources needed to finally do vital seismic upgrading, remove portables and build new schools which the government has been promising for years.

“This fund doesn’t meet the needs of our schools and its being unfairly allocated. This is just the latest in a long line of failing grades for Christy Clark on education.”