Your Vision Vancouver school trustees – Joy Alexander, Mike Lombardi and Allan Wong and I – voted to reject the VSB budget proposals for the 2016/17 operating budget. Green Party school trustee Janet Fraser also voted to reject the budget, helping us to defeat the budget motion by a vote of 5-4. 

Over the past few weeks, Vancouver school trustees heard from our partner groups, parents, students and the public – and from you, our members and supporters – that it’s time to unite and stand up and say ‘no’ to further cuts to public schools. 

That’s exactly what we did last night. 

So – where do we go from here? It’s not too late. The Ministry of Education still has time to work with us to address the education funding crisis in BC schools before the June 30 budget submission deadline. Along with our fellow NPA and Green Party trustees, it’s time to sit down with the BC government and work together to develop a vision for education where every student gets the best possible chance to learn, grow and succeed. 

To that end, we are inviting the Minister of Education Mike Bernier to an emergency meeting with Vancouver school trustees, to talk about solutions to address the crisis in public education funding. 

BC school boards have been grappling with funding shortfalls for over a decade. Stats Canada figures show that BC has among the lowest per-student funding in Canada, approximately $1,000 per student below the national average. This is simply unacceptable, in a province where our government enjoys a healthy budget surplus. 

It’s time to start talking about how we can work together to make education better in our city. Let’s get down to the hard work of finding solutions. We’ve heard that parents, students, partner groups and our community are ready for that conversation. We are too. Let’s start now. 

We’ll have more news for in the days and weeks ahead about how you can get involved to support public education in Vancouver.

Thank you for your continued support,

Patti Bacchus
School trustee