(Photo Steve Riot/Pixabay)

When do our students benefit from the boom?

Increased revenue generation should be accompanied by increased spending

Open letter to education minister Rob Fleming

Dear Sir,

In November last year the Kitimat Retired Teachers’ Association wrote to you to express our concern about the lack of qualified teachers in the classrooms of School District #82.

The statistics speak for themselves with 24 adults covering classrooms on ‘Letters of Permission’. This district is in a crisis situation, unable to attract qualified teachers during the boom associated with LNG development in the region.

Rents are exorbitant and accommodation is difficult to find. The local school board needs assistance from your ministry to address and resolve this problem, which will get worse in the next few years.

We received your reply in December and found it insulting. You completely missed the purpose of our letter – not once did we mention anything to do with the bargaining process, mediators or the past 16 years of underfunding.

Yes, we appreciate the increased funding your government has provided for education in all districts but we were writing as concerned taxpaying citizens about the inequality of education that currently exists in this region.

It is totally inexcusable for your ministry to accept that this ‘bump in the road’ is not affecting the provision of quality education for the students.

All the while, this region is contributing – and will continue to contribute – far more tax dollars to your coffers than anywhere else in B.C.

This is a district that needs support and financial help from your ministry to enhance and improve what is already in place – our school district is trying, but they can’t do it alone.

How are you going to address this situation? We are not talking about negotiations and contracts – we’re asking for meaningful action and support from your ministry to entice teachers to this region.

Do not try to placate us by returning a form letter – we want to see meaningful suggestions and constructive action on your part.

Kitimat Retired Teachers’ Association

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