Editor’s Note: This is a response to an editorial published on OsoyoosToday March 6. You can read the editorial here.
By The Honorable Rob Fleming
Minister of Education
I‘d like to respond to the March 7 editorial in Osoyoos Today and set the record straight on our Government’s commitment to rural schools.
As a member of the Opposition, I fought hard to make sure the voices in Osoyoos and rural communities throughout British Columbia were heard in Victoria. I met with students, parents and members of community as they rallied to save Osoyoos Secondary School. My time in Osoyoos reinforced for me how important schools are to their local community – especially in rural areas.
I want you to know that as Minister of Education I remain committed to fully supporting students in rural schools and to ensuring they receive stable, predictable and adequate funding.
That’s why our Government has launched a review of the education funding model for public schools in B.C. The current system hasn’t been reviewed in decades, and much has changed since that time.
We want to ensure that our education system works for everyone, including rural and remote communities. That is also why our government recently introduced the largest operating and capital budget for the K-12 sector in BC’s entire history.
Last year, public consultations on the state of rural schools were held by the previous government but a final report was never publically released.
That report, in its entirety, is now online, along with other reports and stakeholder input. For those of you who participated in the public consultations — we are using that valuable public input and stakeholder feedback as part of our review the public school funding model.
We are spearheading this review with the BC School Trustees Association which has hundreds of members from rural communities – ensuring rural voices will be heard and well represented.
We will continue to work to ensure equal access to educational programs and services for students throughout the province.
The Honorable Rob Fleming is the provincial Minister of Education.