From Public to Private: The Misuse of BC’s Public Education Funds

On August 1, The Province reported that the ongoing teachers’ strike and government lockout saves the government up to $12 million a day in teachers’ salaries. As a result, government officials announced that they would use this reported surplus to deliver “temporary education support” that assists eligible parents with their personal childcare needs:

“The daily payout [to parents], which totals $12 million a day, will be funded from the government’s $12 million daily savings in teachers’ salaries once the school year begins.” ~ Cheryl Chan, The Province, August 1, 2014

If media outlets are accurate, then one might interpret the government’s reallocation of these resources as a misappropriation of funds and a breach of fiduciary duty. The budget of our public education system is passed through legislation. To dispense these funds to the private good without due process suggests a lack of accountability and transparency. Furthermore, our Minister of Education is entrusted to act in the best interest of all students attending a BC public primary and secondary school. To restrict this “temporary education support” to those publicly educated children 12 years of age and under may be argued as discriminatory.

School supplies, access to technology, and teaching assistance have been cited as areas that require greater attention. In addition, BC public schools are in continued need of physical maintenance and structural repair. Our students deserve a learning environment reflective of the future that we want for them. To reroute this funding without public consultation and consent establishes a precedent and conveys to taxpayers that our investment in the public good is at risk.

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