Arbitrator Finds B.C. Liberal Gov’t Breaking Class Size Laws
VICTORIA — An arbitrator’s ruling has found the B.C. Liberals’ failure to invest in public education has left children struggling to learn in overcrowded classrooms across the province, say New Democrats.
“This ruling confirms what we have been hearing from parents, teachers, support staff, and students,” said New Democrat education critic Robin Austin . “The B.C. Liberal government is breaking their own class size and composition law, and students are the ones who are paying the price.”
The ruling was the result of grievances filed by thousands of teachers whose classes were overcrowded according to the B.C. Liberal government’s own class size and composition law. It is estimated that one in four classrooms in British Columbia exceed the government’s limits.
“The arbitrator made it clear that the B.C. Liberal government is responsible for ensuring schools have the funding to keep classes from being overcrowded,” said Austin. “This ruling is the result of years of cuts and downloaded costs, something that will only get worse if the HST is implemented and takes even more resources out of the classroom each year.”
New Democrat deputy education critic Diane Thorne noted that many districts are already predicting drastic and massive shortfalls in funding for the next school year. The Vancouver district says their shortfall could be as high as $19 million, the Richmond district is predicting a shortfall of up to $15 million, the Burnaby district is looking at an $8 million dollar shortfall, the Vernon school district is facing down a $2.5 million shortfall, and Victoria schools expect to be short as much as $9 million.
“To ensure we are prepared to drive innovation in tomorrow’s economy we must invest in education today. But instead of preparing for the future, the B.C. Liberals have left our public education system in tatters after nine years of neglect,” said Thorne.
Carole James and New Democrats believe that, in order to help drive the ideas and jobs of tomorrow, we must reduce class sizes, eliminate of barriers to post-secondary education, and invest in research and development.