School funding

I am compelled to respond to editor John Harding’s recent editorial on the potential of school closures in our district.

I am compelled to respond to editor John Harding’s recent editorial on the potential of school closures in our district (School closures the only option? Nov. 19).

To compare the dilemma facing our school district to that of a business deciding whether or not to scale back the company Christmas party, would be laughable, were this issue not so serious. The impact that a school closure would have is far-reaching and affects many, not only the students but their families and their communities. Surely there is no better place to educate children than in their own community school, and there is no more important investment than the education of a child, a principle that the current B.C. Liberal government has failed to recognize.

Harding is absolutely correct, however, when he states that “unions and others” are advocating for more education funding. “Others” would include the Legislative Assembly’s Select Standing Committee on Finance, a committee primarily made up of Michelle Stilwell’s own Liberal colleagues. In their recent report, they wrote: “Sufficient evidence was presented to the committee indicating that the K – 12 system is experiencing cost pressures as a result of inflation and aging school facilities. The committee therefore recommends that enough funding be provided to schools to meet rising costs and capital needs while ensuring strong educational outcomes for B.C. students.”  Also, the report recommends that the government “Review the increasing demands on school district budgets and ensure that funding is appropriately directed to meet the growing support required for students with special needs.”

Yes, this group has publicly recognized that the K-12 system is underfunded, but will anything change?

We will need another uproar in our respective communities to convince Stilwell to get on board with her own committee’s recommendations and to recognize that all of our schools are important, instead of writing our community schools off.

Debbie Morran, President

Mount Arrowsmith Teachers’ Assocation

Parksville