Delta throwback: BCTF new funding idea for public education

Let’s head back to June 1972 when the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) put forward a proposal for a new policy when it comes to who pays for public education.

The idea was to have financial support for public schools come from general revenues from the province.

President Adam Robertson presented the proposal to the BCTF Representative Assembly that month.

The proposal represented an important shift from the Federation’s long-standing policy of support for a property tax levied by a local school board.

Robertson said he wanted an end to what he called a “merry-go-round” in which the provincial government blamed local ratepayers who blamed the public school system which blamed the provincial government.

“The buck must stop,” he said. “Spending on public schools is inadequate and all parties to the process are escaping their responsibilities.”

Local school boards under the proposed system would continue to be responsible for managing schools within their district.

The new system would include a basic provincial grant to each district and supplementary grants for districts with above average costs and special pupil needs.

Robertson said local school boards would become “front line fighters” with the provincial government in order to ensure adequate financial resources are provided to fund the programs considered necessary in each school district.

He also said the Department of Education had assumed “absolute control” of the costs of education without assuming responsibility for the programs.

He added that the province would be pressured to structure a department capable of long-term planning and providing assistance to school boards.

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