Continued underfunding of education

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the Jan 30 Thompson Citizen article “Provincial school funding up 0.5 per cent for second straight year.” I would like to point out that provincial school funding increments over the past two, and now a third year, have all been below the rate of inflation. These are cuts. The situation is even worse on a per-pupil basis when you factor in provincial enrolment growth of about one per cent per year. The bottom line is there are more kids and less money.

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Closer to home, last year, the 2018/2019 school year, saw the province boast that there was a 7.4 per cent increase to the School District of Mystery Lake (SDML). The reality is, the increase was 1.5 per cent when one uses adjusted figures for the past two years.

For the 2019/2020 school year, your recent article states SDML will see its funding increase by 2.6 per cent. Again this is incorrect. Reviewing the numbers, last year there was a budget of $32.45 million, this year’s budget is for $32.2 million. This clearly shows that there is a $250,000 decrease.

A decrease of provincial and local funding for education has a profound effect on programming for students in the SDML. I encourage parents, community members and, of course, teachers to participate in the K-12 education review and voice their concerns over the underfunding of education. This is an opportunity to highlight some of the issues that are uniquely northern, and to advocate for stable, sustainable education funding, afterall children are our greatest resource and we must invest accordingly to ensure they are given the best chances of success.

Cathy Pellizzaro

President, Thompson Teachers' Association

Thompson

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