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NEWS RELEASE · 14th June 2010
BC NDP Caucus
Today’s announcement that the B.C. Liberals will spend $144 million on school infrastructure to support all-day kindergarten is an admission they have been short-changing B.C.’s kids, say New Democrats.

“For years, school boards, parents and teachers have been saying the B.C. Liberal government has been underfunding education. Today, the B.C. Liberals finally admitted they were failing to invest enough to ensure that all-day kindergarten is a success,” said New Democrat education critic Robin Austin.

“This announcement proves the B.C. Liberals failed to properly plan for the implementation of all-day kindergarten from the start. I just hope this is the beginning of a process that corrects the funding shortfall, as school boards across the province are dealing with downloaded costs including provincially-negotiated wage and benefit packages, higher MSP premiums, and increased pension contributions.”

Austin noted that today’s announcement addresses the need for school districts to find classroom space to accommodate all-day kindergarten when it is implemented across the province in September 2011, but fails to consider the shortfalls created by the B.C. Liberals’ continued undermining of the school system.

“The Surrey school district is looking at a $4 million shortfall next year just due to the increases in MSP premiums they have to pay. That’s just one small example of how the B.C. Liberals have continuously ignored the millions in downloaded costs they are handing down to school boards while trying to claim they are increasing education funding,” said Diane Thorne, MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville and New Democrat deputy education critic.

Thorne noted that while she supports proper funding of all-day kindergarten, it is time for the government to address the funding shortfalls in the rest of the system.

“It’s shameful that this is the first capital funding the B.C. Liberals have provided to the Surrey school district in the last five years, even though enrolment has grown by nearly 3,000 students,” said Thorne.

Carole James and New Democrats are committed to preparing the next generation for tomorrow's knowledge economy with a quality public education system for all.