LETTER: Fund an example of creative budgeting

Re the new Rural Education Enhancement Fund (REEF). This is another fine example of creative budgeting by the provincial government.

Dear Editor:

Re the new Rural Education Enhancement Fund (REEF). This is another fine example of creative budgeting by the provincial government.

When the last “surprise” cheque was handed out by MLA Dan Ashton, it proved to be a little short of the funds needed to keep the “closing” schools open. So, enter REEF which may bring in just enough for some schools to remain operating!

Thanks to the unending letters and applications by the parents, Trout Creek Elementary may (should) reopen in September. But it will have been in large part due to unending pressure.

Suggestions to the School Board and the Ministry of Education:

1. Unappoint the Assistant Superintendent. This small district should be easily handled by one well paid Superintendent. Saving of money?

2. Why the $35M to private schools? It is a parental decision to send a child to a private school; it is not the government’s purview.

3. School budgets, ie government grants, everywhere have been unable to keep up with rising costs of everything. The Ministry must be realistic in the money needed by B.C. public schools. This is a responsibility which must be honoured.

4. Public schools are and must be open and available for every child in B.C. A number of students will have special needs: physically, emotionally etc as well as language difficulties. To address these needs requires extra funding, but society is repaid by encouraging and enabling every child to be the best he/she can be.

Public education is the most important influence for many children. Quality education has good academic, sports and arts in the curriculum. Again, society benefits by assisting children to have a happy childhood with fulfilling opportunities.

There is an interesting article in the latest copy of the Economist magazine. The most important item in the classroom is not all the latest electronic devices; it is the teacher! The article also stresses the importance of the best professional development guidance.

B.C. teachers have long performed well. B.C. public schools have had a high reputation. It is time for the provincial government to face the issue and fund public schools adequately.

Sheila White

Summerland