Budget cuts put successful community literacy programs at risk

As a former educator, I believe that one of the most important things we can do is ensure that we have a fully literate population.

Recently, I sat down with a group of people from across the constituency who are responsible for providing local literacy services through an organization called Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL). Whenever I meet with local service providers, I am so impressed with their level of expertise and their incredible commitment to their work.

As a former educator, I believe that one of the most important things we can do is ensure that we have a fully literate population. And not that many years ago, the BC Liberal government claimed that it had a plan to make British Columbia the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent

Following the declaration that literacy was a top government priority, $2.5 million of provincial funding was allocated yearly to community literacy programs, and a portion of this money is what CBAL depends on to fund the services it provides. And the list of CBAL’s services, developed using their small portion, is long and varied; services that our communities really can’t afford to live without. If anything, these local programs need more funding, not less.

But the BC Liberal government’s commitment to literacy has been short-lived.  The allocation for government funding of community literacy programs province-wide this year has dropped to only $1 million which will drastically impact the efforts of literacy coordinators and their programs across the province.

In the big scheme of things, $1.5 million is a very small amount, and this cut to literacy funding does very little to address provincial budget shortfalls. But it makes a big difference in our communities. With this loss of funding, we are increasing the risk that our citizens will not reach the literacy standards that they need to succeed, a situation that has societal costs that are much higher than the $1.5 million we will save this year.

Governing is about making tough choices, and we know that there isn’t money for everything. But promoting literacy has to be a priority, not just at a BC Liberal photo-op, but each year when we ensure organizations like CBAL have the funding they need.

MLA Report is written by Norm Macdonald, the MLA for the riding of Columbia River—Revelstoke.

 

Just Posted

Photos: Revelstoke’s ninth annual Emergency Services Food Drive

It’s one of the largest yearly food drives for Revelstoke

FortisBC to maintain gas rates for the remainder of 2019

The next review for natural gas and propane costs will be in Dec. 2019

Revelstoke company airing on Dragons’ Den this fall

Did the Dragons invest? Find out on Oct. 17

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

Okanagan Costco may be on the move

Costco has submitted plans to move to a newer Kelowna location

Shuswap elementary school shocked, saddened by death of teacher

Well-loved Grade 4 teacher in Salmon Arm passed away suddenly over weekend

Okanagan city on track to battle climate change

Climate Action Advisory Committee urges action is needed

Vaping-related illness confirmed in Ontario believed to be first in Canada

Middlesex-London Health Unit had no further details about the case — believed to be the first confirmed in Canada

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Kamloops high school evacuated after receiving threat

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Woman held at gunpoint during carjacking in UBC parkade

University RCMP say the vehicle is still missing, and two suspects are at large

VIDEO: Angry B.C. cyclist starts shaming dangerous drivers online

‘You motorists deserve all your costs and misery’

Most Read