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

$1.3 million in road upgrade projects coming to the streets of Revelstoke

City Council awarded the contract to Jake-Jay Construction at their July 23 council meeting

Revelstoke developer asking for community feedback for Hay Rd. proposal

The Arrow Heights project would see a mix of single family houses, townhouses and duplexes

Wayne’s World: We’re in a climate emergency, let’s act like it

Wayne Stetski MP, Kootenay-Columbia One of the issues I hear about most… Continue reading

Crazy Senoritas coming to Revelstoke

They will be performing at the golf course on Aug. 23

Revelstoke Museum raising funds to create Washed Away film

The film will be about the displacement of people from the damming of the Columbia River

Okanagan-based pop star Andrew Allen is back with a new band

Singer-songwriter Andrew Allen is bringing his new band home for a concert this Friday

B.C. teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Okanagan man grows tomato with an… unusual shape

The man could only conclude that it was a decidedly “male” tomato.

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

Supportive housing first step to healing: BC Housing CEO

Shayne Ramsay explains changes to Rutland’s McCurdy development

Central Okanagan motorcycle crash causes two impaired driving investigations

The driver’s injuries, although serious, are not believed to be life-threatening in nature

Most Read