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

Rockin’ steady with Phonosonics

Victoria roots reggae band looks to attract wider audience with appearance on Rise Up TV show

Sooke man pursues music for a lifetime

Al Pease has been playing music for over 65 years

Django jazz live in Oak Bay Saturday

Pearl Django performs Saturday, April 28 in the Upstairs Lounge, Oak Bay Recreation Centre,

REVIEW: Salt Baby’s search for identity begins at the Belfry

New stage show has plenty of story to work with, but the characters sometimes get lost in the mix

Rick Scott and Nico Rhodes bring ‘Roots & Grooves‘ to Duncan Showroom

There are 40 years between their ages but who cares when there’s this much talent going around

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Ballet Victoria soirée fundraiser a prelude to final show of season

Company winds up its 15th season in the city with Peter Pan next month

Dinosaurs taking centre stage at National Geographic event

NatGeo Live series finale May 2 at the Royal features renowned paleontologist

Celebrate Earth Day with guided walks through Beacon Hill Park

Local naturalists explore Garry oak ecosystem on Camas Day

Shania Twain set to visit CFB Esquimalt

Country music star is meeting members of the Canadian Armed Forces

Blue Bridge Theatre kicks off it 10th season with fun Russian farce

Unique spin on Chekov classic promises surprises

Cochrane alters lyrics to honour Humboldt Broncos

Rock singer, performing at the Elements Casino grand reopening May 5, changes up ‘Big League’

Who’s afraid of Friday the 13th?

Is friggatriskaidekaphobia harmless fun, or should we be proceeding with caution today?

Scottish Country Dance Society members hone their skills

Annual workshops and ball a success, regular classes resume Tuesday

Most Read