VICTORIA – Education Minister Mike Bernier says he’s extending the lives of dozens of British Columbia schools with a $45-million fix-it fund, but he’s not providing relief to school districts wrestling with school closures and overcrowding issues.
Bernier says the fund covers upgrade projects at 124 schools across the province, and involves heating, roof, window, mechanical, electrical and safety repairs and upgrades.
Bernier says he will be in the Surrey school district Friday after meeting with parents from the Vancouver-area city who told him overcrowding is a major issue and new schools are needed.
Other communities in B.C., including Osoyoos, Campbell River, Summerland, Penticton, Armstrong, Prince George and Quesnel have either decided to close schools or continue to operate them on shoestring budgets due to enrolment declines or funding issues.
NDP education critic Rob Fleming says Bernier’s announcement does nothing to ease concerns of thousands of parents across B.C. who are either losing their community’s schools or sending their children to overcrowded facilities.
He says the Liberal government’s failed education funding policies will come back to haunt the governing party in next year’s election as schools close across the province.