REALITY CHECK: Christy Clark’s education funding formula continues to squeeze schools

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Today the B.C. Liberal government announced that education funding will be increased by a mere $44 per student next year. What they didn’t admit is that this so-called increase doesn’t come close to covering the escalating costs which school districts are being forced to pay.

Because of the broken funding model that was brought in by then-Education Minister Christy Clark, since 2001 over 100 schools have been closed and for years school districts have been forced to cut money from classrooms in order to cover inflation and rising costs.

Here are the facts about how Christy Clark’s per-pupil funding formula fails to cover the real costs facing school districts:

  • While inflation increased by 2.3 per cent over the last year, $44 per student amounts to an increase of merely 0.5 per cent, leaving school districts to pick up the rest of the tab for rising costs.
  • The B.C. Liberal government is increasing Medical Services Premiums by over 18 per cent over three years, a cost most school districts will have to absorb as part of their contracts with teachers and other district employees.
  • School districts will have to cut money from classrooms to pay for higher hydro bills, which are projected to increase by 50 per cent from 2010 to 2014.
  • Even though the price of gas has skyrocketed since 2001, the B.C. Liberal government has frozen the school districts’ transportation budgets for the last 10 years. This means school districts are being forced to cut bus routes or charge families to send their kids to school.
  • Rather than investing in programs to green our schools, the B.C. Liberal government is funneling money from school districts’ purchase of carbon offsets into a program that funds upgrades for ski resorts and cement plants.

B.C.’s New Democrats believe that those who out-teach us will out-compete us. But at the very time when we should be investing in public education for the sake of our children and our future, because of Christy Clark’s education funding model our province is lagging behind.