Horgan promises new school funding formula in B.C.

Premier addresses B.C. Teachers Federation AGM ahead of contract negotiations starting next year

Premier John Horgan spoke to the B.C. Teachers Federation annual general meeting in Vancouver on Tuesday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

B.C. will replace a “one-size-fits-all” funding formula for school districts to account for differences in urban and rural communities, Premier John Horgan says.

He told members of the B.C. Teachers Federation at their annual general meeting Tuesday that the previous Liberal government introduced a funding formula in 2002 without conducting broad consultations.

“We’ve put in place a team to address that and I’m confident that, with the input from the B.C. Teachers Federation and others, we’re going to have a funding formula that makes sense in every corner of British Columbia,” he told the teachers, who begin contract talks in about 10 months.

READ MORE: B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

READ MORE: B.C. VIEWS: Public school ‘crisis’ doesn’t exist

School districts currently receive funding based on the number of students, but the union is calling for a needs-based formula that would prevent cuts to programs and staffing levels when enrolment decreases.

The government will invest more money in public education up to 2021, Horgan said.

“I know you’re saying, ‘But what about the bargaining?’ That’s not in there, that’s somewhere else, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Since September, the province has increased funding to hire 3,700 full-time teachers, Horgan said, though he acknowledged many of the positions were filled by substitute teachers, leaving few teachers on call.

“That’s a problem you didn’t have 10 years ago. That’s a problem, let’s hope, you won’t have five years from now,” he said.

Union president Glen Hansman said members want a wage hike but he’s realistic that other public-sector workers across the province will also be heading to the bargaining table at around the same time.

Hansman said “mature conversations” will make a difference for the union that had a bitter relationship with the former Liberal government, which in 2002 stripped teachers’ right to bargain class size and composition.

“Teachers in B.C. have some of the worst starting wages in Canada. It’s only us and Quebec that are that far down,” he said.

More teachers are needed to meet the objectives of a landmark 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling requiring the province to restore staffing to 2002 levels, he said.

“We need more bodies, from Manitoba, Ontario, and Alberta,” Hansman said, adding teachers in those provinces earn up to $20,000 a year more than their counterparts in B.C.

“That’s a problem. We need a plan to entice more teaches to come west of the Rockies.”

He said special-needs teachers are often pulled from their classes when there’s a lack of teachers in other classes, leaving vulnerable students without the resources they need.

But students in many subjects are doing without adequate staff, he said.

“We’ve got kids now that still don’t have their teacher. It’s the 120th day of the year, something like that, and there are still students who have a revolving door of people so far in the school year.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

‘Dramatic undersupply’ of workers in Parksville Qualicum Beach: new labour report

Analysis supports what many already know, reinforces need for action: Burden

Outreach group ordered to stop feeding homeless on City of Parksville property

City issued Manna Homeless Society cease and desist order after complaints from public

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Discarded needles, theft from homes and businesses keep Oceanside RCMP hopping

Crime report also includes cannabis-related infraction

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

Most Read