Statement from Mayor Gregor Robertson on the Vancouver School Board
The Vancouver School Board was elected by residents of Vancouver to act in the best interest of children and youth in Vancouver’s public schools. Over the past seven years I have seen them serve with dedication and passion, while taking a pragmatic approach that has used shrinking resources to help build a supportive school system for our kids.
That’s why when this Vancouver School Board says that another $21.4 million in funding cuts is too deep to support the learning needs of Vancouver’s children and youth – the most complex of all the districts in the Province - the only response for me is how we can help to support them.
In 2015, for the first time, Vancouver provided more in school taxes ($463 million) than it received in provincial funding ($448 million) - a loss of $15 million. On Tuesday, City Council unanimously passed a motion supporting the Vancouver School Board’s request for our fair share of provincial funding and encouraging the Minister of Education to meet with the Vancouver School Board in order to find a solution.
We took this action not just in the best interests of children and youth in Vancouver public schools, but in the best interests of our entire city’s future. Everything from our economy to our ability to create safe and inclusive communities rests on the investment we put into supporting public education. Indeed the strength of our public education system is a key draw of people to Vancouver.
I am urging the Minister to work with the Vancouver School Board to find a way forward that respects the wishes of Vancouver voters and provides stable, long-term and predictable funding that responds to the complexity of needs in our schools, and avoids the cuts that will fall disproportionately on our most vulnerable kids.