Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's in the billions? The money stolen from BC kids

Last week, government representatives walked away from the table to discuss how to remedy the government's illegal legislation - Bill 28. The legislation eliminated class size and composition levels, and ratios for specialist teachers.

It is shameful that Minister Abbott and his government have walked away from talks to restore services to children and schools in the wake of their illegal legislation, bill 28.

This government has stolen $3 billion from the public education system in the decade since the illegal legislation was introduced. BC Supreme Court Justice Griffin found in her ruling that the government "saved"  $275 million per year (in 2002 dollars) as a result of the illegal legislation. Surrey school board numbers confirm that the amount is now likely $330 million per year to restore services (about right, given inflation). Teachers simply want this funding and the guaranteed services restored.

Greedy? I'd call it reasonable and fair.

The illegal legislation eliminated guaranteed class sizes for every child in BC. It also eliminated guaranteed minimal levels of support for students with special needs through class composition requirements and minimal staffing ratios for specialist teachers. Every school child benefited when collective agreements guaranteed access to teacher librarians, counselors and special education teachers.

As a result of the loss of these guaranteed services, there are now 3500 fewer teachers province wide and over 12,000 classes that exceed School Act limits.

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