Education is underfunded

The new government should engage in long term planning

Editor, The Record:                                                                                                                        Re: Rai running for NDP in May election (Jan. 10, 2013)

As an Abbotsford school trustee, I’m sure Mr. Rai is well aware that the Liberal government’s chronic underfunding of education has adversely impacted children in this province.

Locally, we’ve experienced school closings, cuts in programs, fewer secondary level course offerings, etc. because school trustees must wrestle with the problem of balancing a budget that does not receive enough money to adequately meet children’s needs.

Despite its claims otherwise, the current government has not made educating our children a priority. While it is true that B.C. schools are experiencing a decline in enrollment, it is the government’s failure to plan for such fluctuation that has created the current crisis in education. By using a funding formula based on enrollment, the government sets up a condition whereby the quality of a child’s education depends on the number of students going through the system at the same time.

Whichever party wins the May election, it is time the government re-thinks how it funds education; the new government should engage in long term planning that takes into account the inevitable ebbs and flows of student numbers.

Just as I hope Mr. Rai will use his experience as a school trustee to highlight educational issues during his campaign, I think he should also draw attention to the fact that B.C. has one of the highest numbers of children living in poverty in Canada.

Mr. Rai wishes to deliver positive “change for families in our community.”  Ensuring people receive, at the very least, a living wage is a good place to start. It is inexcusable that we have children coming to school experiencing food and housing insecurities.

Kate Ross