On September 19, 2016, Jen Stewart and Carrie Bercic of FACE appeared before the BC Legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, which is consulting citizens about priorities for Budget 2017. The Committee will issue a report in November, making recommendations to the Finance Minister for the upcoming budget.
We asked the Committee to once again recommend increasing operational and capital funding for public education to a level adequate for districts to provide quality public education to all learners in safe buildings.
We also urged the Committee to once again recommend a review of the way that public education is funded, because the per-pupil funding model is not working.
You can find our submission in pdf form here. To listen to our presentation, go to the Committee’s page, find the date Monday September 19th, and click the Audio link. Our presentation begins at about 5:20:00.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Make a written, video, audio, or in-person presentation to the Committee.
- Fill in the online survey. It only takes a couple of minutes to tell the government how you want it to spend our tax dollars.
The deadline for completing the survey or making a submission is October 14, 2016.
Update: Here are some of the points we made during our presentation that are not included in our written submission:
- Closing schools, increasing class sizes, and closing or reducing funding for special programs will lead to more children falling through the cracks and failing to graduate, without the special classes and smaller class sizes they need to succeed, whether due to disability or gifted status. Reducing graduation requirements in order to boost graduation rates is no answer to this problem; it does not give our children the tools they need to succeed and will ultimately result in many of the same costs associated with lower graduation rates.
- Closing schools to save money does not resolve operational budget issues. For example, Prince George has closed 21 schools in recent years yet still had a budget shortfall this spring, due to insufficient operational funding.
- Fundraising inequitably subsidizes the education system to a huge degree: In 2013/14, six districts raised over $6 million, and these are just the funds the districts had figures for (ie likely not including smaller PAC fundraising efforts like bakesales, plant sales, coffee sales, etc., that don’t usually result in a receipt for tax deduction purposes). http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2016/01/05/donations-increasingly-funding-bc-schools.
- The recently announced tax credit for school supplies amounts to $12.50 per year per child for families who are above the income threshold for paying income taxes. This amount ($1 per month) will not make an appreciable difference in family finances, but it would go much further if it was put into the educational system and its benefits were thus pooled. Teachers have pointed out that $1 per student per month would make a large difference in the resources they are able to purchase for their classrooms, such as 3-D printers and other equipment.