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Comptroller’s report a ‘missed opportunity’: BCTF

The Comptroller General’s report on the Vancouver School Board was “a missed opportunity,” according to Irene Lanzinger, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

In a news release issued within hours of the report itself, Lanzinger said Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid “has refused to be accountable for underfunding the system and the role her government has played in B.C.’s education crisis.”

“In trying to shift the blame, the minister of education prevented the Comptroller General from even assessing the provincial government’s funding decisions,” said Lanzinger. “This government and this minister of education are in complete denial about the education funding crisis and apparently they want to keep it that way. Why else would they prevent the Comptroller General from commenting on education funding in BC?”

Lanzinger said students in BC will face another round of devastating cuts in September. “School districts across the province, not just Vancouver, have significant shortfalls that will force them to make cuts,” said Lanzinger. “Those cuts will lead to larger classes, less support for children with special needs, more school closures, and hundreds of teachers will be laid off.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education published its own news release, summarizing and endorsing the report:

Board choices leading to budget challenges

Maintaining rental leases at artificially low rates – $1.5 million in potential annual revenue.

Using one-time funding for ongoing expenditures – $3.29 million.

Concessions from union that would have addressed lost productivity at $975,000 per year – $2.4 million in potential savings.

Providing non-core education services – $3.24 million.

Five schools identified by management for closure, savings of $1.68 million per year.

Meanwhile, VSB Chair Patti Bacchus said: “I didn’t run for office so I could do this government’s dirty work.”

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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