Cardboard blinds come up in B.C. Legislature

SRT portables will get window coverings.

The use of makeshift cardboard window blinds in the portable classrooms at Samuel Robertson Technical were used as an example of the government’s under-funding of education in the provincial legislature.

On Oct. 28, Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson used question period to tell the minister that teachers at the Maple Ridge high school have been asked to create makeshift window coverings.

“Teachers have been asked if they can find some cardboard, cut it to shape, and prepare it for use as window coverings,” said Robinson.

She said in the event of a lockdown, the teacher is supposed to quickly tack this cardboard up so a potential intruder could not see into the portable classroom.

Robinson then told the minister to admit that the government’s demands for administrative savings are affecting classrooms, and to stop under-funding education.

Education Minister Mike Bernier responded that the government has invested $1.4 billion on school improvements in the past three years, including seismic upgrades.

“It’s unfortunate we always have to hear the NDP besmirch the system,” he added.

Robinson said she wanted to show how ridiculous the situation is getting in schools, due to government under-funding.

She has since been told by the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district that there is enough funding for the blinds.

Irena Pochop of the school district said it is not a funding issue, and the at SRT has a “healthy budget” that it can access to pay for wind coverings.

“The cardboard was put up as a temporary measure while the school works with our facilities department to allocate the funds and order and install the blinds. Our hope is to have new blinds in there within a couple of weeks, though the timeline will unfortunately depend on how long it takes for them to ship.”

She said there were blinds on the windows, but they were damaged and taken down, and the cardboard put up as a temporary measure.

Robinson said school board administrators have been cutting costs for so long, they are scared to spend any money that might be deemed discretionary.

“It’s really not about blinds, it’s about chronic underfunding,” she said. “Everyone is anxious to spend money on the things we need.”

“This is just another example of how crazy it’s getting.”

District Parent Advisory Council president Kim Dumore said the issue was blown out of proportion.

“When the district got wind of it, they dealt with it in a timely manner,” she said. “Safety is of the utmost importance to the district.”

Maple Ridge Teachers’ Association president George Serra said the public has generally heard about under-funding education, but the cardboard blinds are a “real-life example that can resonate with the public.”

But he called it a minor issue in the big picture of the school district’s under funding by the province.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Caitlin Toews, operations director of The Asante Centre, says more supports are needed for people with FASD. (Special to The News)
More supports “urgently” needed for those living with FASD

Wait-lists for supports at Maple Ridge centre can mean the difference between life and death

Rich Goulet in 2015. (THE NEWS/files)
STM renames Chancellor Tournament for Rich Goulet

Iconic Pitt Meadows coach memorialized by the high school where he started

Scenes Gerald Bowers sees on his daily walks downtown. (Gerald Bowers/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge resident fed up of downtown garbage and vandalism

Downtown Maple Ridge BIA say graffiti incidents down

Members of UPlan have a Zoom meeting to discuss youth mental health in Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows. (Zoom screenshot - Special to the News)
Student group wants to bring awareness to youth mental health

UPlan members discuss some of the challenges facing young people during the pandemic

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

A man has died after being shot at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park the evening of Monday, April 19. (Twitter/IHIT)
1 man dead after shooting at Coquitlam park: IHIT

The gunman is still at large, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
B.C. man living a full, active life after double-lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

Most Read