Impending School Closures due to Funding Shortfalls, says Horgan
COBBLE HILL – The impending closure of two unique Cowichan area schools is yet more evidence of shortfalls in the Campbell government’s education funding formula, Malahat – Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan said today.
“How many communities have to see their schools closed before the Campbell government will fix the problem they created?” said Horgan.
Horgan was responding to concerns over the possible closure of école Mill Bay, the only single-track French immersion school in the Cowichan Valley, and Koksilah Elementary, which has an overwhelming majority of First Nations students.
“Koksilah and Mill Bay are serving the community well. The province should recognize that and assist the school district to keep these schools open without downloading responsibility and more costs onto parents and the community,” said Horgan.
Horgan called on Education Minister Shirley Bond to address the funding shortfalls by amending the per-pupil formula. In 2002, the Campbell government imposed a per-student funding formula that punishes schools in rural communities.
Horgan also called on Minister Bond to assist school districts with the preservation of infrastructure and buildings that have been used for generations.
“It’s time for the province to recognize that buildings are a part of the education equation. Constant rounds of closures destabilize communities and create long-term planning problems for regional government,” said Horgan.
The Cowichan Valley Board of Education is expected to make a final decision on whether to close the schools in April.