Dear Fellow Parents,
This is a letter from the Advocacy Group at Ross Road. We are a group of parents who are gravely concerned about the current and future condition of public education. We have been working together to bring our concerns to the attention of elected representatives, school board officials, BCTF and the general public. We would like to share with you some of the most pressing issues.
- Funding cuts to education over the past eleven years have changed the learning conditions in classrooms and have limited our children’s access to resources within the school. For example, system-wide there are larger class sizes and fewer aides. Ross Road, despite having more than 500 students, has a part-time librarian and inconsistent access to music and gym teachers. The number of split classes will continue to increase if the recently proposed English kindergarten/grade one split class goes ahead in the Fall. Your child may have been working off photocopies this year instead of a proper textbook, because of funding cuts. Click on the the following links for more info:
- The “Wish List” created by Ross Road teachers and administration, and funded by money raised by Ross Road PAC has gone from supplementing the classrooms with “nice-to-have” items to providing more seemingly essential items. For example, this month it included the replacement of leveled home reading books for primary grades and a walkie-talkie for lunch and recess supervisors.
- The District was unable to provide money in the budget this year for technology purchases.The PAC cheque-writing campaign solely funded the purchase of the iPads this year. And, in fact, the PAC has purchased all the student-use computers and iPads over the past four years. The PAC voted at the last GM to buy ten additional 10 iPads to complete the class set. This need to use PAC funds to purchase technology is even more surprising considering that the new BC Education Plan focuses on learning empowered by technology:
- The provincial government says it is contributing new money in the form of a “Learning Improvement Fund,” [Bill 22] [BCTF’s take on the LIF]. But the teachers tell us that this same fund does not begin to make up for the cuts imposed by government 10 years ago [Impact of Bills 27/28 and Bill 33 – PDF]. Whatever increases the public school system sees are more than offset by responsibilities newly off-loaded on the public system by government
- The government tells us there is no more money available.Yet it has increased funding to private schoolsby many times the increase to public ones:
- BCTF Research Report: Budget Update: Budget 2011 not enough to resolve funding crisis (Page 4 of this PDF shows funding increases to private schools)
With a provincial election on the horizon, the time is ripe for our local and provincial representatives to be reminded that parents are voters and we are paying attention! We encourage you to take a moment now to advocate for the funding of quality public education.
- To make it easy, email addresses and sample letters that can be cut and pasted are on the Advocacy Ross Road Sample Letters page; of course we welcome you to compose your own letters. Please note, the sample letters were created in response to the Spring 2011 budget cuts, therefore some of the text is a little out-of-context – we are in the process of editing these letters to reflect the current situation – but they are a good starting point!
- For a list of key contact people (MLAs, Trustees, Superintendents, etc.) click here.
- We have included several links within this post, many of which were taken from the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils’ website, to help ease the burden of staying informed on the issues affecting our children’s quality of education. Feel free to send us resources we can post on the Advocacy’s website. Click here for more Education / Job Action links (to be updated!).
- Also, we welcome you to join the Ross Road Advocacy Group. Our kids can always use your ideas, your skills, your expertise and your time to improve their educational experience.
Thank you, and have a great summer!
The Advocacy Ross Road Group