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NEWS RELEASE · 16th March 2010
BC NDP - Victoria
Unfunded costs will lead to larger class sizes, fewer supports for vulnerable students.

The B.C. Liberal government’s decision to freeze operating grants for 33 school districts will lead to larger classes and fewer supports for vulnerable students in communities around the province say New Democrats.

“The B.C. Liberal government’s decision to freeze operating grants for 33 districts will leave children in overcrowded classrooms with fewer supports,” said New Democrat education critic Robin Austin. “Worse, the release they snuck out the door last night reiterates their promise to make B.C. the most literate jurisdiction on the continent, even while they freeze funding for districts that are already drowning in increased costs.

The education ministry announcement, released late yesterday, was titled “education funding to increase for the tenth straight year.” It fails to note that all districts have been left to fully shoulder several major costs resulting from B.C. Liberal government decisions including:

• $23.1 million for increased pension costs
• $6.3 million to calculate carbon footprints and buy carbon offsets
• $3.3 million trades adjustment
• $2.8 million in increase medical plan costs
• $2.4 million in increased hydro costs (not including the cost of the most recent hike)

“The B.C. Liberal government continues to relentlessly spin their failure to protect education.” said Austin. “This latest press release is a slap in the face to the province’s educational partners – it misrepresents the financial difficulties facing districts.”

Even some districts that are receiving increases to their operating grants will still have to make cuts to the classroom to deal with increasing costs. For example, although the Vancouver school board received a 0.1 per cent increase in their operating grant, they still face up to $17 million dollars in unfunded costs.

“The B.C. Liberal government continues to mislead British Columbians about the state of our education system instead of having an honest conversation about the need to invest in literacy and education for the benefit of our children and the economy,” said Austin.

Carole James and the New Democrats have been holding the B.C. Liberals accountable for breaking their word on the HST, and for backtracking on their election promises to protect health care, education, and other vital services.
School Closure
Comment by Don Intermela on 18th March 2010
The district board of education just voted to close our school in South Hazelton. How does closing a thriving rural school fit with the government's rosy press releases?? As I speak -Prince George is wrestling with the possible closure of 15 more schools. The provincewide total for school closure is approaching 200 -since the Liberals altered the education funding formula in 2002.

How's that for a positive tone?

That is exactly what it does!
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 17th March 2010
One press release comes out with "Look how wonderful this government is!" and the next one comes out with "No you are not and here's what is wrong." One assumes that a government of the responder would correct what is wrong. You may find that is all part of "you suck, you suck politics." but the release explains exactly why somethings are unfunded even though the claim by the government is contrary.

It just sounds like there is more to your objection than just the absence of the opposition saying that "yes you are good but not quite as wonderful as you say." How do you say in a nice way that you have not funded all the cost pressures even though you claim you have. Frankly I would call them liars but that may be just me.

Perhaps we should get a press release from the Green Party to see if they would do it differently or let some others decided if this release is too negative to clearly state the problem. Maybe as an exercise we could get a rewrite that conforms to you model of a good press release. Just a thought.
That's not what I meant...
Comment by Adam Kirkwood on 17th March 2010
That's just taking the easy way out... I'm talking about the way these things are written... we get sick of it real quick... if people were to write things in a positive tone, more people would want to read it and believe what is said...

How about "That won't work, how about this..." instead of the childish you suck you suck you suck bulls$&t...

The alternatives present.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 16th March 2010
Now if I can wade through a press release, even though I have seen more than I care to remember, you could as well. Read the one from the Ministry of Education below and then read this one.

The alternatives you demand start in the title. Fund all increased costs. Unfreeze operating grants for the 33 districts, fully fund the costs of BC Government decisions including:
$23.1 million for increased pension costs; $6.3 million to calculate carbon footprints and buy carbon offsets; $3.3 million trades adjustment; $2.8 million in increase medical plan costs; $2.4 million in increased hydro costs (not including the cost of the most recent hike).

Then there are the general suggestions like don’t mislead the public, don’t sneak out press releases, don’t …well you know the rest maybe scrap the HST.

and another thing
Comment by Adam Kirkwood on 16th March 2010
Carole James et al aren't holding anyone accountable regarding HST...

Here we go again...
Comment by Adam Kirkwood on 16th March 2010
All I read here is a lot of pointless blathering. Some will disagree and say this is what the opposition is "supposed to do" simply oppose for the sake of opposing... but I would LOVE for once to see or hear the "opposition" come up with a solution of their own once in a while... Is it because they don't have any? Is it too hard? It really seems pointless. It's like a little league coach telling the parents that their kids suck all the time instead of providing solutions to make the kids better. If the NDP think they're so smart and want to form gov't next time, why aren't they telling us what they would do instead? Prove that they're worthy of forming gov't and they'll probably win... All this you suck you suck you suck stuff really is getting old...