Maple Ridge trustees ask province to properly fund education

The board has been forced to cut more than $5 million from each of the past two budgets.

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board continues to express its displeasure with the lack of government funding for the system, in writing and in person.

Board chairman Mike Murray reported at a recent meeting that trustees met with local MLAs Doug Bing (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) and Marc Dalton (Maple Ridge-Mission), and talked about education funding, class sizes and other issues.

The board has been forced to cut more than $5 million from each of the past two budgets.

Murray said it is important for trustees to give their provincial representatives “tools and information” that they can bring to discussions with their caucus colleagues.

“We certainly want more funding, and no additional downloading.”

Correspondence received from the Kootenay Columbia District also struck a chord with trustees. It said the province’s newest initiative in schools, the B.C. Education Plan, will fail without more money.

Trustee Susan Carr highlighted the last line, which read: “Failure by the government to provide the necessary funding and the time require to operationalize the plan will undoubtedly result in the B.C. Education Plan being little more than a website of unattainable goals and broken promises made to the current and future students of our province.”

She said government is “constantly cutting things that will affect the plan.”

Trustee Ken Clarkson supported her motion to write a similar letter.

“If the B.C. Ed Plan is going to be successful, it has to be properly funded,” he said. “I think the letter is timely.”

Murray agreed it is “an appropriate time to add our voice,” and the board will write that letter.

Carr noted that parents who have been protesting a lack of education funding were in front of Doug Bing’s office on Thursday.

“The parent turnout has been really, really good. It seems to get bigger every week.”