Tuesday, September 08, 2009

School Parent Action Committees to take a fifty percent reduction in grants from the government

As the province's schools reopen for another year of educational pursuit, those parents who donate of their time and efforts to provide assistance to their local schools will have to make do with less.

The Provincial government, continuing on a theme of late of reducing funding to a variety of levels of the education system, has turned its attention to those Parent Action Committees that serve as the link between parents and school administrators.

The grants which last year came to 20 dollars per student will be reduced by fifty percent, putting more than a few of the activities of the PAC's on the back burner. The committees help along the fundraising activities of the schools to provide such things as computers, funding for field trips, book purchases and sports events to name a few. With a pending reduction of 50 percent one imagines that those committees will be faced with the prospect of saying No a lot more than they may want to.

The announcement of the funding cuts was relayed by Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid,through a scrum with reporters on Tuesday, catching more than a few of the PAC organizations across the province off guard.

The Vancouver Sun' s Janet Steffenhagen features the details of the decision and the concern that it is causing around the province, as the latest cutback to the school system adds to the growing total of clawed back monies by the province. She regularly updates readers on the state of the province's educational system through her Vancouver sun blog Report Card (see it here)

The school funding issues come on the heels of last week's surprising and controversial funding cuts to a number of community groups. That was an issue that saw the government back down on a bit in recent days, but one which still has raised concerns with the North Coast's MLA Gary Coons.

He outlined his thoughts as part of a press release this week, detaling the NDP's concerns on the handling of the funding files by the provincial government.

“The minister's day-after reversal raises disconcerting questions about whether anyone can trust the finance minister and his budget numbers,” said Coons. "Rather than creating chaos amongst community groups, the B.C. Liberals should simply have lived up their original commitment."
"Despite the B.C. Liberals’ budget flip-flop, thousands of charities without three year agreements are still uncertain about whether or not they will receive funding," said Coons. "These cuts are going to affect a variety of groups and initiatives which could include service clubs (Lions, Rotary, Legion, Moose), sports organizations, daycares, and playgrounds."

As the Liberals seem to stagger from one announcement to the next, the impression is one of a government that really isn't working from any kind of comprehensive blue print, but rather in a frantic patchwork fashion. Offering up cuts one day and reversing them the next, something that isn't going to leave the residents of the province with any great feelings of reassurance that the issues are well in hand.

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