B.C. BUDGET: School funds added as BCTF talks continue

Interim deal with the BCTF will be worth $320 million over three years




The province is investing an additional $740 million into public education over the next three years, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced in his pre-election budget Tuesday.

It’s not enough, according to B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Glen Hansman.

“We still have a long way to go,” said Hansman.

He’s more optimistic about the $320 million for the interim agreement between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the province and $50 million to hire 1,100 teachers announced in January.

RELATED: Medical premium cut by half promised in B.C. budget

RELATED: Property transfer tax take to drop to $1.54 billion in budget as hot market cools

“We of course would have preferred to see a number but to have strong references to the necessary monies being there in the contingency fund… that should get us there,” said Hansman.

“This all may be moot in the next couple of weeks if we resolve this and then we will be able to talk more concrete numbers and hopefully they will be able to nail down an exact amount.”

There will be $120 million for 2017-18 and $100 million per year for the two following years.

“There is money within the budget to address the ongoing negotiations that are taking place,” said de Jong. The total cost will be determined by the negotiations.

According to the education ministry, the province has spent $2.6 million in legal fees on their 15-year battle with the BCTF. The final agreement has yet to be ratified.

“I’m told that the discussions are productive at the moment and the parties are hopeful about reaching a settlement,” de Jong said. “There are monies in the fiscal plan to ensure that the final settlement can be financed.”

Over the next three years, a total of $9 million will go towards keeping rural schools open and $45 million will go towards cutting school bus fees for the majority of students within school catchment areas.

Education Minister Mike Bernier announced Sunday that school districts will receive $27.4 million this year in one-time funding out of the current year’s budget. Districts must apply and prioritize purchasing supplies and resources that reduce costs for parents and helping teachers deliver B.C.’s new curriculum.

There will be $228 million over the three-year plan for projected enrolment growth and $94 million in flexible funding to help with school district operational costs.

Out of the $13.7 billion in total provincial capital spending over the next three years, $2 billion will go towards K-12 education.

That includes the $217 million for 5,200 new student seats in Surrey announced earlier this year, a new Grandview Heights secondary School that will add 1,500 new seats, Smiling Creek Elementary in Coquitlam which will provide 430 new seats, a seismic update to Alpha Secondary and $52.7 million to address the capital needs for french immersion schools.

Just Posted

Langley’s assistant lacrosse captain tallies up five goals in Calgary loss

Stealth fell to Roughnecks, but hoping for comeback on Dec. 29 in New England.

VIDEO: balloons and games and music at Basic for Babies in Langley

Event helps Food Bank stock supplies for infants

LETTER: Not too late to protect the character of Brookswood

With election year coming, a letter writer suggests council be held accountable for re-development.

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Family Christmas fun at Aldergrove’s Loft Country farm

The Loft Country children’s horse camp in Aldergrove is celebrating Christmas in a new way this year

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Most Read