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

Qualicum Beach staff moving forward with report for cinema, brew pub

Councillor makes motion to include The Old School House proposal

Annual pickleball tournament fills up quickly

Two-day event to take place indoors at Oceanside Place May 24-25

Lighthouse Country bus tour to focus on area’s tourism destinations

Business assocation wants more tourists to come to the area

Flock of spinners holding fleece and fibre fair in Coombs

Annual event raises money for Bradley Centre, supports local producers and vendors

Bowser residents protest marine sewage outfall plan

Veenhof and staff endures harsh criticisms at public information meeting

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Most Read