Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Success for Saanich School Kids!

Saanich Student Max with Lana at the Community Forum 
held at at the Saanich South Community Office for Saanich
students and parents concerned about the budget deficit
Dear Saanich South,

I'm very pleased to report that yesterday the BC government did an about-face and agreed to provide additional funds to the Saanich School Board.

Many of us have been working hard to make this happen. Personally, I pressed the issue with the Education Minister several times, raised the need for this in the BC Legislature, spoke out strongly on the subject with the media on numerous occasions, connected with dozens of affected parents, and held a public forum on the topic for Saanich parents and kids at my community office two days ago. 

As you may recall, the Saanich School Board refused to approve the cuts required to meet the government's flawed funding formula. The School Board argued that they had already made many deep cuts and anything further would cause too much damage to the educational quality of our Saanich public schools. Hundreds of parents supported them in this gutsy move and launched an email campaign to raise awareness of what was at risk.

Up until the very last minute Education Minister Abbot refused to budge, saying repeatedly that there were no more funds available and hinting strongly just last week that the Trustees who didn't do as they were told would be fired. 

But the Saanich Trustees stuck to their guns and yesterday the BC Government released an additional $170 000, almost exactly what the Saanich Trustees said they needed! Last night the Trustees approved a new balanced budget.

I think the Trustees’ principled stand - and all of the public pressure - helped turned this around.

My concerns with the funding formula used by the Province for our public schools remain, but this is a positive development and children in Saanich will be better off because of it.