Representatives from the Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union held an information rally outside North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice’s office on Monday afternoon demanding a fair deal. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

Representatives from the Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union held an information rally outside North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice’s office on Monday afternoon demanding a fair deal. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

LETTER: “We need to compare apple to apples,” MLA Rice responds to teachers’ rally

On Sept. 30 Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union held an information rally outside Rice’s office


I’m writing this in response to your coverage of concerns raised by teachers at an information rally which occurred outside my office this week.

I completely respect the important and difficult job teachers do to support our kid’s learning and it’s in this regard that the BC NDP government has made significant investments to education funding.

While I understand teachers are comparing British Columbia to other provinces, I think it’s important to compare apples to apples, which is to say we should compare the British Columbia of today to British Columbia of the past, before the New Democrats were sworn in to govern.

READ AND WATCH MORE: Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union rally outside MLA Rice’s Office

Students in Prince Rupert and across British Columbia are now benefiting from an education system that has added significant new resources to classrooms. Our government is investing $1 billion more annually in education than just over two years ago under Christy Clark’s BC Liberals. Since forming government student enrolment has increased by 3.2 % while at the same time we have increased the education budget by 17.1 %.

As a result of our investments in education, for the first time since 2006, all 60 school districts have received an increase in funding.

Student supports are also very important to our government and that’s why students are attending some of the smallest classes in a generation, with more educators and other supports in the classroom with class sizes in the Prince Rupert School District smaller than the provincial average.

Supplemental special needs funding has increased by 23% since we formed government and in School District 52, it has increased from $3.5 million in 2016/2017 to $4.3 million for this school year. Funding to support indigenous students in the School District has also increased from $1.5 million in 2016/2017 to $1.8 million for this school year. As of June 30, 2019, SD 52’s accumulated operating surplus was $2,187,898.

Our government is also investing in schools. Our capital budget investments total a record $2.7 billion over three years to replace aging schools, add more spaces in growing communities and fast-track seismic upgrades.

School district 52 has received well over $2 million to upgrade roofing, plumbing, electrical, flooring and new playground equipment.

READ MORE: School returns in B.C. with uncertainty surrounding contract for teachers

I’ve been advocating since the BC Liberals were in power to replace the seismically-at-risk and aged Prince Rupert Middle School. Now under Premier John Horgan’s government we’ll actually get it done and I’m currently working to create a new learning space with the Ministry of Education, SD52 and the city.

After 16 years of underfunding by the last government, we are focused on improving services and putting the success of our students at the centre of all we do.

I am pleased that BCPSEA applied for mediation, and both sides, the teachers and the employer, have agreed to mediation.

Nearly 70% of public sector workers have been able to get a fair deal in their contract negotiations, including nurses, paramedics, and K-12 support staff, and I believe teachers can too through negotiations at the bargaining table.

Jennifer Rice

MLA North Coast

Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Letter to the EditorLettersLetters to the editorSd52teacher strike

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rose Sawka, 91, reaches out to her son Terry Sawka, on a daily visit through the window, from inside Acropolis Manor where a COVID-19 outbreak took hold on Jan 19. Rose was vaccinated for the virus on Jan. 20 and as of Feb. 25 has remained virus free. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
No increases of COVID-19 at Acropolis -16 residents now recovered

Vaccinations have helped to stabilize Prince Rupert long-term care facility virus numbers

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

BC Bus North was implemented under the NDP provincial government in 2018 when Greyhound cancelled services across northern BC. The transportation funding expires at the end of March 2021. (Photo: B.C. Transit)
BC Liberals call for immediate govt. renewal of BC Bus North funding

BC Liberals spent years ignoring need for better transportation in the North - Jennifer Rice, MLA

Prince Rupert Tourism is benefitting from funding for new welcome and wayfinding signage from the COVID-19 Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. McClymont Park on the gateway into Prince Rupert is one of the first things tourists see entering the city by road. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
$695,000 Community Economic Recovery funds to benefit local organizations

Prince Rupert Tourism and Gitga’at Development Corporation to receive COVID-19 recovery funds

Wainwright Marine Services Ltd.’s “Ingenika” tugboat went missing in the Garner Canal area south and east of Kitimat on Feb. 11, resulting in two deaths and the rescue of a third man. (Wainwright Marine Photo)
Tug union demands Transport Canada protect workers along B.C. coast and rivers

ILWU makes safety demands following the deaths of two men and the rescue of a third

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read