FORT ST. JOHN (May 27, 2020) — Opposition Critic for Education and MLA for Peace River North Dan Davies is asking why John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming broke their promise to students and staff of Independent Distributed Learning (IDL) schools after the announcement to cut IDL school budgets by 20 per cent was made earlier this month.
“John Horgan assured the NDP would not cut IDL school budgets and he has broken that promise,” said Davies “This decision happened behind closed doors without any consultation with the IDL school boards and was sprung upon them after most budget and staffing decisions were already prepared.”
In a March 17, 2017 letter to the Federation of Independent School Associations (FISA), John Horgan — then Leader of the Official Opposition — promised that the NDP would not change the existing funding for independent schools. Current Education Minister Rob Fleming also promised FISA that they would be consulted regarding any budgetary reviews and changes for the 2020/21 school year. In May of 2020, Independent Schools were informed with only two months notice that their budget would be cut by $12 million, equal to almost $800 per student enrolled.
“When I asked the Education Minister during budget estimates debate in May of last year, he told me his government had no plans to change the funding policy for IDL schools,” added Davies. “This government has not only deceived IDL schools and staff, but they have also deceived the public and families with this sudden announcement. The sad reality is that some of our province’s most vulnerable students who rely on IDL programs will be the ones most impacted by this decision.”