FORT ST. JOHN (May 08, 2020) — Dan Davies, MLA for Peace River North and Opposition Critic for Education, is calling on Education Minister Rob Fleming to delay cuts to Independent Distributed Learning (IDL) schools who were blindsided this week with news that the provincial government was slashing $12 million from their budgets.
“With the current COVID-19 protective measures in place, online learning is more crucial than ever. Parents deserve a choice in education for their children and the province is eroding that ability,” said Davies. “This decision directly targets some of the most vulnerable students in our province. I am calling on this government to delay this unilateral cut in funding and negotiate any future changes so independent schools have time to adjust. We need to ensure our children’s education is not abruptly impacted, especially during this unprecedented pandemic.”
The government’s $12 million funding cut is equivalent to $793 per student and will severely impact the programming, staffing, and resources available for these schools, and will have a trickle-down effect for the thousands of students enrolled in IDL programs across B.C.
“A large portion of students attend IDL schools because they have diverse learning needs or come from bullying, crisis, and other traumatic situations,” says Davies. “This cut has come without warning or consultation and is a huge hit to IDL schools across B.C., many of which have already allotted their staffing and budget for the 2020-21 school year and won’t have enough time to adjust for this sudden cut in funding.