British Columbia

Provincial education funding announcement earns every public student in B.C. $50

The $29.4-million Student Learning Grant will be used for supplies for schools and classrooms, while the Opposition critic says the announcement is just a, 'random act of funding,' in the lead up to the provincial election.

The $29.4-million Student Learning Grant will be used for school and classroom supplies

The B.C. government has announced a one-time fund of $29.4 million dollars to buy supplies for classrooms and schools in the province. (Cathy Yeulet/istock)

The B.C. government has announced some one-time funding for the province's education system to be used by schools for supplies.

The Student Learning Grant will provide $29.4 million dollars to both public and private schools in the coming weeks.

'Reduce costs for parents'

"Schools will be required to put a priority on purchasing supplies and resources that reduce costs for parents and help teachers deliver B.C.'s new curriculum," said the province in a release on Sunday.

The province's 60 school districts will receive a total of $27.4 million based on the number of students in their district. Independent schools will receive $2 million.

"Thanks to our strong economy and fiscal management, we are finishing the year in a really good position," said B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier as part of the release.

"I can think of no better way to take advantage of the available year-end funding than by investing in our students and classrooms."

Opposition education critic Rob Fleming calls the grant a, "random act of funding," as the May 9 general election approaches and the Liberals prepare to release their 2017 budget on Tuesday.

B.C. NDP education critic Rob Fleming says under the provincial Liberal government, education in the province has gone from the second-best funded in Canada to the second worst. (CBC)

"B.C. Liberals having attacked the K-12 education system over the last 15 years," said Fleming. "You know the last budget they tabled cut exactly the same amount from this ministry, $29 million, now they're adding $29 million back."

Fleming says the government is trying to reverse negative public perception over a  Supreme Court of Canada ruling that will require the province to spend up to $300 million to get staffing levels back to the way they were in 2002.

He also mentioned a fund the Liberals created to keep rural schools open in B.C. after making moves to close some.

"These are exactly the kind of costs that they've downloaded onto school districts the last ten years without any compensation that led to cuts and the loss of teaching positions and classroom resources for our kids," he said.

The Student Learning Grant will fund new classroom supplies at a rate of about $50 per public school student.