REALITY CHECK: Spirit Schools Won’t Make Up For Cuts To B.C. School Sports

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While the B.C. Liberals claim that their “2010 Spirit Schools” announced today will encourage children to be active in the lead-up to the Olympics, their deep cuts to programs like B.C. School Sports put the lie to the government’s promises:

  • Despite their promise to protect education during the campaign, after the election the B.C. Liberals cut the funding for B.C. School Sports, putting programs for students in sports like track and field, wrestling, field hockey, rugby and aquatics at risk.
  • Education Minister MacDiarmid says that youth whose sports are cut can make up for it by “walking or dancing or playing in parks,” but that won’t make up for skills development and social supports provided by the team sports now facing the axe because of Liberal government cuts.
  • Many B.C. athletes, including B.C.’s own Olympic gold medal wrestler, Carol Huynh of Hazelton, got their start with B.C. School Sports.

The cut to B.C. School Sports is just one of many that will be impacting students this fall, including:

  • $110 million facilities grant eliminated: The B.C. Liberals announced they were cancelling schools’ $110 million facilities grant just a week before classes, despite the fact that many districts had already spent at least a portion of the anticipated funding over the summer.
  • $3.7 million in hold-back funds clawed back: More than 40 school districts have been told that funds they received at the end of the last school year as a result of greater than expected enrolment will be clawed back this fall, even though these funds had already been built into school district budgets.
  • $1.9 million in lease money from Conseil Scolaire Francophone eliminated: School districts that lease facilities to Conseil Scolaire Francophone are no longer allowed to charge the French school district for the capital portion of the lease, which will cost districts across the province a total of $1.9 million – money that had already been allocated to classrooms.

The B.C. Liberals promised British Columbians during the election that they would protect education. Now, as a result of their budget lies, school districts have been left scrambling to make-up for shortfalls just as classes start.