A plan by the provincial government to spend $12 million each school day if the teachers’ strike continues has been condemned by the union representing the educators.
Jim Iker, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation said the $40 the government has committed to parents of children 13 and younger in the public-education system for each day teachers remain out of the classroom is “a blatant and divisive attempt to prolong disruption in B.C. schools.”
Finance Minister Mike de Jong told reporters on Thursday (July 31) parents and guardians of children under the age of 13 can apply for a $40 a day grant to help pay for child-care costs or tutoring if the labour dispute disrupts school starting back on Sept. 2.
Iker’s statement said the scheme “will not help improve class sizes, increase support for children with special needs or provide more one-on-one time for all students.”
He called on the government to put more effort into reaching an agreement with the union before the start of school.
As of the end of June, a month that saw rotating strikes and then a full strike as of June 16, the province had saved an estimated $178 million in salaries not paid, a spokesman for the education ministry said.
No details on how parents will access the grant, other than direction they will apply for it online, were available from the finance ministry.
When asked if receipts are required proving how the money is used, or how often parents would be required to submit an application for the grant, the ministry said those details were not available yet.