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VIEW: Parents plead against education cuts in open letter to premier

April 18, 2014

Premier Clark
Room 310
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, B.C., V8V 1X4

Dear Premier Clark,          

As the Vancouver School Board struggles to create a budget with the limited resources allocated for 2014-15, trustees have called for public input. The Board, parents and citizens are faced with terrible fiscal trade-offs -- music programs versus Gifted Education consultants, versus athletic coordinators, versus counsellors -- versus a plethora of other valuable educational supports. As well, the VSB is considering more District Closure Days to help balance the budget. And they are not alone. The Vancouver Sun on April 17 has reported shortfalls in 15 school districts across the province. What an assault on the quality of education in British Columbia! 

As parents and citizens, and supporters of Protect Public Education Now, we back all the initiatives that are under the gun -- not just programs that matter to us personally -- because all contribute to the healthy development of our children, our communities and our province, as a whole. We want education to be funded at the level it deserves, so that your government can keep its election promises, including specific pledges to reduce class sizes and improve classroom composition province-wide.

If your government is to continue to claim that "families come first," and "a strong economy starts with a strong workforce and that means investing in education," then it must surely invest significantly, now, in these and other overdue improvements. In recent years, education budgets have been under assault, not just because of direct funding cuts, but because provincial governments have downloaded more operating costs to the school boards, as well as a significant portion of the costs of seismic upgrading.

A fully and sustainably funded public education system is the right of every child. Across Vancouver and the rest of the province, the public is taking up the call from the District Parent Advisory Council: "Invest in our Children NOW. They are the Future." Premier, you are hearing from your families. Please listen and take action to supplement the 2014-15 Education Budget now, before school boards across the province are forced to compromise our children's education. As taxpayers, we are willing to shoulder the costs. The province cannot afford to keep adding to an education deficit that will impact future generations.

Thank you,

Protect Public Education Now (PPEN)

James Boothroyd; Brad Cran; Gillian Jerome; Franco Pante; Marlene Rodgers; Jody Woods

Cc: Peter Fassbender, Education Minister; Rob Fleming, Education Critic; Adrian Dix, MLA Vancouver-Kingsway; Patti Bacchus, Chairperson, Vancouver School Board

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