Recently we are hearing in the news about the difficulty boards of education are having trying to develop feasible budgets for the 2013/2014 school year.
As has been happening regularly since 2002, the provincial government has been underfunding the public education system in British Columbia.
The results have been cuts to educational programs, school closures, increased class sizes, and a reduction in services to special needs students.
This year the boards are stating publicly through the B.C. School Trustees Association that further cuts cannot be made without significantly affecting educational services to the students of British Columbia.
The South Okanagan Retired Teachers’ Association is very concerned that the present government is pursuing an elitist agenda that wishes to see the public education system so weakened and destitute that those who can afford to do so will be forced to seek educational services from private providers.
Ms. Clark, our premier, on the weekend was talking to a family in Oak Bay and brashly bragging about the fact that personal income taxes are so low in B.C. that a family with an income of $90,000 a year will save about $3,000 per year over the cost of taxes prior to the government coming into power.
However, that kind of talk in Oak Bay, a bastion of affluent British Columbians, has little relationship to the average citizen in the rest of the province whose family incomes are not anywhere near that amount of money and the tax savings they have received are not anywhere near $3,000 per year.
It is a fundamental precept for an economically successful democratic society to have a level playing field regarding education so that all children can take advantage of having a school system that will provide diverse, accessible, and effective educational programs.
All families must have the assurance that their children can maximize their potential as responsible and contributing citizens in their adult years by having access to a high quality and properly funded public school system.
It is also understood in our society that a good well rounded education is a necessity to be a successful and contributing member of society.
The retired teachers of the South Okanagan would request that all eligible voters look carefully at the educational platforms of the political parties of the up coming provincial election and to vote for those candidates that are committed to and support a strong, healthy, and well funded public education system in B.C.
South Okanagan Retired Teachers’