As the planning for September begins in districts across BC, there is an opportunity not to be missed by School Trustees and parents to call on the government to restore funding and reinstate class size and class composition limits, as well as non-enrolling teaching services.
Very soon, the government will make a decision about whether or not to appeal the BC Supreme Court ruling. An appeal would be costly and take time. Nine years has been far too long already for students, parents and teachers to wait to have funding restored. But it may take concerted pressure to ensure that Clark does what she claims and puts "families first".
I was so heartened this week to learn that the Saanich School Board took a courageous stand and submitted a deficit budget with class sizes and services restored. This is a clear and unambiguous message to the government to restore funding. I was very disheartened that the Victoria Board responded to teachers' call for restoration simply by saying they could do nothing.
Now is the time for School Boards and individual Trustees to speak out. Now is the time for public pressure to restore services.
Only pressure to ensure Clark's government acts to restore funding will solve the immediate failings of our school system for children like those described in this post on Janet Steffenhagen's blog:
My son's resource teacher is one of only two at a large high school, with about 1100 or 1200 kids. Those two teachers are responsible for writing about 180 individualized education plans. The school no longer has any Learning Assistance service. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident-his cousin goes to a different secondary school and the situation with support staff is just as bleak. Resource teachers and Learning Assistant teachers need to be in place, and with case load limits so that the kids get adequate attention and time. So Christie, and friends-since you folks destroyed special education support services in this province, how about doing the right thing, and reinstating them. How about putting some of the colossal raises you guys voted yourselves back into the support services you stripped?