B.C. announces $29M for school supplies. Critics term timing, amount, “ironic”

Critics query provincial cash for school supplies

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s New Democratic Party education critic says the provincial government’s announcement of a one-time Student Learning Grant is “pathetic.”

Rob Fleming says it’s ironic that the grant gives $29.4 million to public and independent schools to purchase supplies and resources, because that’s the same amount stripped from districts through ministry-ordered administrative savings barely one year ago.

The BC Teachers Federation welcomes the grant but president Glen Hansman says it’s only half of what is required to address classroom needs.

B.C.’s 60 school districts will split a total of $27.4 million based on student enrolment, while the province’s independent schools will share $2 million.

The Education Ministry says in a release issued Sunday that the funding works out to about $50 dollars per student.

Districts can use it for everything from textbooks and computer programs, to athletic equipment, art supplies and lab equipment.

“Thanks to our strong economy and fiscal management, we are finishing the year in a really good position. I can think of no better way to take advantage of the available year-end funding than by investing in our students and classrooms,” says Education Minister Mike Bernier in the release. 

Fleming says this is another “random act of funding” from the B.C. Liberal government following years of underfunding, downloaded costs and cuts to the education system. (CHNL, The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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