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Investing in education today pays dividends tomorrow

By Hannah Scott (Local Journalism Initiative reporter) and Don Fennell

Published 10:29 PDT, Wed October 14, 2020

Last Updated: 11:45 PDT, Wed October 14, 2020

Education is at the core of our future—literally.

But during the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and students are experiencing unusual conditions in classroom settings. Though $45.6 million in provincial funding and $242.4 million in federal funding has been dedicated to the safe restart of BC’s schools, necessary additions to the public education system go beyond the challenges the pandemic has brought about.

The Richmond Sentinel asked Richmond’s provincial candidates what changes they’d like to see in BC’s public school system, and how these changes would be funded.

The BC NDP’s Richmond South Centre candidate, Henry Yao, says today’s kids deserve to have the best start possible—which means hiring new teachers, reducing class sizes and upgrading aging schools.

Fellow NDP candidate Kelly Greene says she became involved in politics because she wanted to support seismic upgrades to Richmond schools without closing other schools. In the last three years, she says her party has invested nearly $100 million into seismic upgrades, with eight either funded or completed in Richmond alone.

“But we need to continue that work until every Richmond student is attending a safe school,” she adds.

The BC Liberals’ Richmond-Queensborough candidate, Jas Johal, says BC’s schools are some of the best worldwide, and that funds should go to building new schools in growing cities like Richmond.

“Schooling sits at the intersection of parents, government, and most importantly educators,” Johal says. “It takes input from all three for student success.”

Richmond-Steveston BC Liberal candidate Matt Pitcairn says as a father of school-aged children, “I share the incredible anxiety parents are feeling about sending their kids back to school during a pandemic.”

Pitcairn said a Liberal government will make schools structurally safer, vowing to personally work to ensure that lessons being learned by local teachers and administration about local health safety during the pandemic will continue to improved over the coming weeks and months.

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