The Liberal MLA for Cariboo North is firing back against allegations that her government isn’t properly funding the education system.
Coralee Oakes says the province has added an additional 28 million dollars to fund collective agreements and per pupil funding has also been increased to $10,755 per student and is projected to go up to $11,020 next year.
Oakes says they are also looking at ways to increase capital funding for school districts hinting of an exciting upcoming announcement.
We asked Oakes if all of this was happening why then are there still school closures ?
She says “it is challenging when you have declining enrollment, you do have to make tough decisions, like i am the Minister of Small Business and when you look at your business modelling you do have to evaluate what your administration costs are. So you have to look if you have decreased enrollment, that would suggest that at some levels you have to look at your administrative costs.”
Oakes also raised the issue of closing rural schools.
She says her government provides additional revenue to rural schools so if Quesnel’s Board closes those schools they then lose that revenue.
Oakes also acknowledged however that the decision was a difficult one and that local Boards should be making decisions on what is best in terms of programming for students.
As for why she wasn’t at the press conference on Monday where the Board of Education, along with it’s education partners, insisted that there wasn’t enough funding for the district….Oakes says she couldn’t be there because she was in Victoria where the house is in session.