Bruce Ralston New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Whalley

Bruce Ralston  New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Whalley
Bruce Ralston
New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Whalley
Victoria: I’m a parent, and I believe that every young person growing up in Surrey – or anywhere in B.C. – should receive world-class education.
All of my children attended public schools in Surrey and went on to post-secondary education. I think that’s what every parent hopes for, and I want to make sure that every family in Surrey has that opportunity.
But today, our schools in Surrey are under attack from a dishonest Liberal government that wants to claw more fees out of parents while delivering less education in the classroom. That’s if your kids are lucky enough to have a real classroom.
Premier Christy Clark and the Liberals are taking $29 million dollars out of the K-12 system this year, $54 million by the end of next year. Make no mistake – each one of those dollars removed will hurt our children. The premier says this money can be cut out of administration, and that these tens of millions of dollars each year are “low-hanging fruit.”
But we all know that we can’t take this premier at her word. She sounds sincere when the cameras are rolling, but then she drops all these new costs onto parents.
The truth is the Surrey school district spends only a lean two per cent of its budget on administration. In the words of the Surrey school district chair, “All the fruit trees have been cut down.”
Premier Clark’s cuts to education will affect school activities, field trips and athletics. It will mean less support for students learning English, and less support for our students with special needs. It will mean still more pressure on parents to fundraise and pay out of pocket. Fundamentally, these latest cuts mean a lesser education for our children, and that’s just wrong.
Taking money away from schools is even more incomprehensible to me when I visit Earl Marriott secondary school and see all those portables sitting there. Far too many of our children already go to school without a real classroom, and this government has no plan to change that. Those portables are expensive; Surrey has to spend $4 million each year just to keep a temporary roof over students’ heads. Clearly the province needs to build new schools, but Premier Clark and the Liberals just don’t care.
The Liberals are taking money out of our classrooms, dumping new costs on parents, and leaving our children literally out in the cold. I know we can do better and we must do better. Surrey is a dynamic, growing community, and we need a government that invests and believes in our school children.