Education was the topic at an all-candidates forum for the Cariboo North riding in Quesnel last night.

Like every election, funding for education was a hot topic and perhaps not surprisingly the candidates disagreed on the actual numbers.

Coralee Oakes, who is seeking re-election for the Liberals, says her government is investing 5.9 billion dollars in public education which is 40 percent more than in 2000…

“Even though enrollment has declined by 55 thousand students. Since 2000 the average per student funding has increased by almost 44 percent from $6,262 to $9,000 a student now.”

Scott Elliott, who is running for the NDP, acused the Liberals of cutting funding for 16 years…

“The facts are that we’re the second lowest in Canada as far as funding for education. On average across Canada we spend a thousand dollars less per student in this province. It is absolutely unacceptable.

Tony Goulet, representing the BC Conservative party, is very familiar with this topic as he has been a School Trustee since 2004.

He says it is important that the Provincial Government isn’t downloading services onto local School Boards…

“You can look at what’s been happening in this district over the last 16 years since i’ve been a Trustee. We’ve been looking for millions of dollars, 500 thousand dollars and we keep getting downloaded costs that we can’t pay for. We don’t raise funds, we don’t raise taxes so we’re in a predicament here. We rely on core funding.”

Just under a hundred people took in the forum at Correlieu Secondary School.