Vancouver Secondary Teachers' Association (VSTA)

October 29, 2007 19:17 ET

Vancouver Secondary Teachers' Association: Midyear Cuts to Education Funding Target Vancouver Secondary Students

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 29, 2007) - In an e-mail to all school districts secretary-treasurers, dated October 18, 2007, the Ministry of Education announced a cut to the 2007-08 operating grants for secondary students in Grades 10, 11, and 12. This cut to operating funds will target secondary students taking less than a full course load and will have a negative effect on many programs offered in Vancouver.

Students in alternate programs often do not take a full eight-course load: many have to work part-time, others may be returning to school in hopes of a better future. Students with tutorial blocks or those enrolled in Aboriginal support programs that are not credit courses will not be funded, yet they will still require teacher support to succeed.

These changes come on top of the challenges secondary schools face in the absence of firm class-size limits, class-composition provisions, and much needed support for students with special needs. "A change in funding at this time of the year is unbelievable," says Anne Guthrie Warman, President of VSTA. "We already have 415 secondary classes over the class-size limit and 817 classes with more than three students with special needs."

In the Vancouver school district this cut in funding represents a reduction of funding to students with a loss of over a million dollars to our district. Programs affected by this cut are concentrated in areas that will affect our most vulnerable students with no funding for transitional ESL, skills development centres and we are still uncertain about ESL courses. "This will be a huge burden on our district," says Anne Guthrie Warman. "When is the government going to recognize that they are the ones who are under funding and destabilizing our schools while demanding that the rest of us be accountable?"

Prior to the October 18th e-mail, Grades 10, 11, and 12 students enrolled in less than eight courses received .5 of the base grant plus .125 of the base grant for every course they took. With this announcement, students who do not take a full course load will only receive .125 for each course taken; they will lose the .5 of the base grant, as much as $4,000 per student.

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