May 13, 2014 11:47 ET
BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 13, 2014) - CUPE says that years of downloading major costs to school boards without providing funding to cover them is taking a toll on K-12 education in B.C.
"Downloading costs onto school districts is now hurting students," said CUPE BC President Mark Hancock. "Premier Clark campaigned on a 'families first' platform in the last election but her definition of family must not include students, as she's continuing Gordon Campbell's policy of deliberately underfunding education."
School districts across the province have been cutting staff and programs to balance budgets. The total reported budget shortfall across B.C. is over $70 million.
"We've been talking about this structural shortfall of funding for K-12 education for years," said Hancock. "Cutting staff means less support and services for students, who should not be paying for government underfunding."
Examples of unfunded costs include:
School District 68, Nanaimo-Ladysmith is poised to eliminate 16 education support workers and 12 teaching staff. In Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, School District 42 has cut teachers and 14 education support workers, and students who ride buses within their own catchments will have to pay a $215 annual fee. The Coquitlam board indicated that it's likely that dozens of teachers and many support workers will lose their jobs in September because of budget shortfalls. And in New Westminster, an unprecedented array of cuts will devastate services to students.
"It's well past time for this government to put students first, and to step up and properly fund education," said Hancock.
Mark HancockCUPE BC President604.291.9119Rob HewittCUPE K-12 Sector Coordinator1.250.859.1963Janet SzliskeCUPE Communications Representative604.454.7293
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