Patti Bacchus wonders if districts will be left in lurch as savings from teachers strike go to parents

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      The chair of the Vancouver board of education, Patti Bacchus, says there are no guarantees that her district will receive any government savings from a fall teachers strike.

      Speaking with reporters at the school board office, Bacchus said the province has informed the Vancouver school district that it will receive 20 percent of the strike savings to date.

      "That was really the last few weeks of school," Bacchus noted. "That will be a couple of million dollars, if we add it up."

      However with the provincial government planning to give money to parents if the strike continues on Tuesday (September 2), Bacchus worries that it might mean nothing for school districts.

      The $40-a-day child-care payments are restricted to parents for each child under 13 years old in the public-school system.

      "With the $40-a-day plan, we're not sure what that means [and] if all the savings will go to the parents in those payments or not," said Bacchus, a Vision Vancouver trustee.

      She hopes that the teachers strike will be resolved before Tuesday, making this a moot point.

      Meanwhile another Vision Vancouver trustee, Mike Lombardi, told the Straight at the board office that the B.C. government is experiencing a backlash from its $40-a-day child-care proposal.

      "I think they were quite shocked to see the blowback they got from that, even from their own supporters," Lombardi said.

      He called the payments a "version" of a voucher system.

      Lombardi said that's because once a structure is created to give money to parents for education, it can be adjusted so they can choose their kid's school. That opens the door for more private education paid with public funds.

      "We know the examples of that in America have been disastrous," Lombardi said. 

      He characterized what's happening in public education as "classic shock doctrine".

      It's a reference to the 2007 Naomi Klein book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, which explored how acolytes of free-market economist Milton Friedman capitalize on chaos to advance a privatization agenda.

      "You underfund, destabilize, and you basically create problems," Lombardi said. "Then you encourage people to go to the private system and eventually, you give more money to the private system. That's a big concern of ours."

      He added that his fellow trustees are big supporters of public education.

      "We think it's one of the foundations of our democracy. Anything we do to pull back on that is very, very bad for our society."



      Sick of Bureucrats

      Aug 30, 2014 at 9:22pm

      Here is a simple solution Bacchus: cut the number of people being paid to show up to VSB offices by 30%. Cancel all pay raises, trim benefits and find out exactly why absenteeism costs, according to Bacchus, $125,000 per day. Explain to us why the number of "superintendents," "administrators," "liaisons," and other useless & expensive managers has increased even as enrolment drops. The amount of waste at the VSB is astounding, almost as impressive as the sheer number of people without responsibility or accountability. Cull the education bureaucracy and you will be amazed at what we can afford.


      Aug 31, 2014 at 7:12am

      Drinking vodka tops the Premier's choice over looking after kids of BC! This should be the headline in all papers and media today.

      While the BCTF is at the bargaining table Ms Clark is discussing drinking booze on her twitter account. Does she have a brain or just an overinflated ego?

      After two days of “negotiations” it is readily (LOL at that one) apparent that Ms Clark has no intentions of dealing fairly with the parents, children and teachers of BC. She still wants her “get out of jail” card signed off by the teachers because she knows she is going to lose in the Supreme Court come fall and doesn’t want to pay the price. What other dingbat other than this Premier would think screwing teachers and children is a good deal for the province? This one does.

      Why did the BCTF move so much as I hear over a hundred million dollars was removed from their demands and Ms Clark instead talked about pickled vodka. Is she a joke or just a dim bulb?

      No commitments from the government to do anything but Ms Clark’s support for pickled vodka and the BC Lions reigned supreme. How shallow and how insulting to the parents, students and teachers of BC! We deserve better.


      Sep 1, 2014 at 9:28am

      she continues to get paid