Your Quick Action Can Help Saanich Students... Please take action by June 15!!

Picture of Stasia Hartley
Your Quick Action Can Help Saanich Students... Please take action by June 15!!
by Stasia Hartley - Sunday, 5 June 2011, 9:56 PM

Fellow Parents,

Our Saanich schools continue to deliver a great education in spite of budget cuts, but it can't go on forever. Have you and your child’s education been negatively affected by any of the following over the past decade?

  • Schools closing
  • Increased class sizes
  • Courses and programs cut (especially in middle and secondary schools)
  • Reduced support for students in the classroom
  • Reduced librarian and counseling time, especially at the elementary schools
  • Increased fees

If so, it’s time to take action now, because our school district has run out of options for dealing with ongoing budget pressures imposed by the provincial government.

You can make a difference quickly and easily. Use or adapt the sample letter (below) to email or fax your ministers of education and finance, your premier, and your MLA. They will listen to parents – perhaps more than to the school board which has already taken a strong stand. Every message they receive from parents is recorded, so your action counts.

The message is simple: The school funding formula is broken. You, our politicians need to fix it.

If you think your child is getting a good education, you are right; however that quality is threatened. If you think your action isn’t needed, we urge you to think again. Many of the players know what has happened over the past decade: The Saanich School District staff and the Saanich Board of Education trustees have worked hard to minimize the impacts of ongoing budget cuts. Teachers and support staff have been subsidizing your child’s education with extra efforts to fill the gap left by the provincial government’s funding formula. The formula hurts school districts with decreasing enrolment, like Saanich, while generously funding a minority of districts that have increasing enrolment (a detailed explanation is on our COPACS website). Ministry of Education staff do know this, but can’t do anything without instructions from their political masters. The politicians won’t do anything unless they get a clear and consistent message from their voters – you and other parents.

Thanks in advance for taking action to maintain a high quality education for Saanich students. Please talk this up with your fellow parents and urge them to act right away. The school district is required to submit a final budget by the end of June. Our message needs to reach our politicians well before then from as many parents as possible! Please do it today!

Your fellow parents and members of the executive,

The Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils of Saanich (COPACS)

Please feel free to use or adapt the sample letter below to email or fax the following politicians:

Honourable George Abbott: <span title=" CTRL + Click to follow link" style="font-family:arial, 'sans-serif';font-size:11pt;"></span> Fax #: 250 387-3200

Honourable Christy Clark Premier Fax number 250 356-1384

Honourable Kevin Falcon Finance Minister Fax number 250 387-5594

Lana Popham MLA Fax number 250 387-4680

Murray Coell MLA Fax number 250 356-6176

Adrian Dix

Robin Austin’s Fax number 250 387-4680.

Honourable George Abbott,

Minister of Education

Dear Minister Abbott,

The funding formula for schools does not give equal and fair treatment to schools. In short, it is broken. I urge you to take the necessary steps to fix it. (And please do so in time for the 2011/12 school district budgets.)

The Saanich Board of Education has respectfully alerted you to this situation. The Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils of Saanich has explained why the formula has unfair impacts on districts with declining enrolment (available on the COPACS website). The formula was doubtless introduced with the best of intentions by the then Minister of Education, Christy Clark. I am also sure that as Premier, now, she intends that with her ‘Putting Families First’ agenda, to provide fair treatment of students and families in all school districts.

Under the current formula, the education of many students will be needlessly and unfairly compromised. As a parent and voter, I trust that you will act decisively to ensure a better distribution of the public funds available for education.

Yours truly,

Sign your name here!