Good day all,
As many of you will know from our meeting on Wednesday evening this week, we have now crafted an official PAN statement to the Govt regarding the VSB budget. You can read the statement below.
We believe in addition to all the parent letters/emails to Mr Bernier and MLAs etc and the continued social media work, that we need to send an official statement.
Our goal is simple but time is short to:
1) Get as many parent/guardian/citizen/Vancouverite "signatures" on our statement
2) Submit the statement with signatories by email on Tuesday May 10
SO to your action -
If you believe, as we do, that the Govt should fund public education adequately and you believe in the work PAN is doing, we ask you to "sign" our statement letter.
The statement and the place to affix your name/email is in a shared Google Excel Doc at this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qJdc90lN6NBVvgI80B8Ne88B7wnX9YLfDHkWawavOow/edit?usp=sharing
Please sign as yourself, or on behalf of your PAC or as a citizen concerned for public education.
It doesn't matter if you are a member of PAN - it only matters that you believe in what the letter has to say and you feel you can stand with PAN in pushing back to the Minister of Education.
Please share the link/email with your parent networks and we will submit the letter with as many signatories as we can gather between Fri May 6 and end of day Mon May 9
Andrea Sinclair on behalf of PAN
Here is a copy of the statement:
Parent Advocacy Network Statement to the Minister of Education
RE: VSB Budget
The 2016/17 BC budget indicates that we live in a province of relative prosperity. Unfortunately, public education is not being funded accordingly, much to the detriment of our future society.
The current Vancouver School Board budget shortfall of $24 million is the result of over a decade of structural underfunding by the Provincial Government. Every year, underfunding forces communities across BC to compete for increasingly scarce dollars. It forces school boards to make impossible choices over which vital programs to save or to cut. It forces PACs to fundraise inordinate amounts of money to compensate for these losses, creating divisiveness and inequalities between schools.
Despite the recommendations of the Select Standing Committee on Finance – and therefore the priorities of the citizens of this province – the provincial government has not even increased expenditures to sufficiently cover inflation. At least 28 districts across the province are facing budget shortfalls this year, totalling over $84 million. This is despite over a decade of cuts to programs and student services, including school closures. Even districts like Surrey, with increased enrolment and schools over capacity, are experiencing shortfalls. In Vancouver, $80 million (adjusted for inflation and enrolment changes) of funding would be required to restore the same level of services to students that existed in 2001. Focusing on declining enrolment and surplus space serves to obscure the actual problem: a flawed and inadequate funding model that is crippling our once internationally acclaimed public education system.
The Parent Advocacy Network stands with VSB Trustees in saying, “Enough is Enough.”
ALL children, regardless of their economic background, race, or ability, have the right in this province to a quality education that meets their learning needs and gives them the opportunity to achieve their full potential. This is the goal of public education as set forth in the BC School Act – for the health and benefit of our entire society.
We urge you to act immediately to restore adequate and sustainable funding for public education to this year's budget. Investing in the provision of a quality education for all children in this province is not only your legal obligation, it is the key to true prosperity.