Horgan promises new school funding formula in B.C.

Premier addresses B.C. Teachers Federation AGM ahead of contract negotiations starting next year

Premier John Horgan spoke to the B.C. Teachers Federation annual general meeting in Vancouver on Tuesday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

B.C. will replace a “one-size-fits-all” funding formula for school districts to account for differences in urban and rural communities, Premier John Horgan says.

He told members of the B.C. Teachers Federation at their annual general meeting Tuesday that the previous Liberal government introduced a funding formula in 2002 without conducting broad consultations.

“We’ve put in place a team to address that and I’m confident that, with the input from the B.C. Teachers Federation and others, we’re going to have a funding formula that makes sense in every corner of British Columbia,” he told the teachers, who begin contract talks in about 10 months.

READ MORE: B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

READ MORE: B.C. VIEWS: Public school ‘crisis’ doesn’t exist

School districts currently receive funding based on the number of students, but the union is calling for a needs-based formula that would prevent cuts to programs and staffing levels when enrolment decreases.

The government will invest more money in public education up to 2021, Horgan said.

“I know you’re saying, ‘But what about the bargaining?’ That’s not in there, that’s somewhere else, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Since September, the province has increased funding to hire 3,700 full-time teachers, Horgan said, though he acknowledged many of the positions were filled by substitute teachers, leaving few teachers on call.

“That’s a problem you didn’t have 10 years ago. That’s a problem, let’s hope, you won’t have five years from now,” he said.

Union president Glen Hansman said members want a wage hike but he’s realistic that other public-sector workers across the province will also be heading to the bargaining table at around the same time.

Hansman said “mature conversations” will make a difference for the union that had a bitter relationship with the former Liberal government, which in 2002 stripped teachers’ right to bargain class size and composition.

“Teachers in B.C. have some of the worst starting wages in Canada. It’s only us and Quebec that are that far down,” he said.

More teachers are needed to meet the objectives of a landmark 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling requiring the province to restore staffing to 2002 levels, he said.

“We need more bodies, from Manitoba, Ontario, and Alberta,” Hansman said, adding teachers in those provinces earn up to $20,000 a year more than their counterparts in B.C.

“That’s a problem. We need a plan to entice more teaches to come west of the Rockies.”

He said special-needs teachers are often pulled from their classes when there’s a lack of teachers in other classes, leaving vulnerable students without the resources they need.

But students in many subjects are doing without adequate staff, he said.

“We’ve got kids now that still don’t have their teacher. It’s the 120th day of the year, something like that, and there are still students who have a revolving door of people so far in the school year.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

WATCH: Kan Yon restaurant break-in caught on camera

Owner Kevin Kwong said the break-in will not stop him from doing business

Letter: With Greyhound cuts, cancer care still available for rural residents

Editor, In light of the Greyhound bus lines reducing service in British… Continue reading

Savage West rock at a hoedown for a cause in Hope

Owners of Broke Buckle Clothing Co. held the event to benefit the Heart and Stroke Foundation

Rolling Pin celebrates being crowned sweetest bakery in Western Canada

Fans of the bakery voted online and in person in the Dawn Foods contest this summer

A tiny shop with a big heart for the Hope hospital

The gift shop at the Fraser Canyon Hospital is bursting at the seams with new products

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

VIDEO: Giants fall to Royals 4-2 in Victoria Saturday night

Second loss in as many days for G-Men, who are back home in Langley today to take on the Cougars.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Most Read