B.C. cuts grants for parent groups in schools

[From the Vancouver Sun...]

Parent advisory councils in B.C. schools will receive only half as much money in gambling grants this year as they did last year, Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid revealed Tuesday at an event intended to celebrate the start of a new school year.

That news, along with dire warnings from the Vancouver board of education that it’s facing a financial crisis this year, took the shine off a gathering at False Creek elementary, organized by the education ministry to promote the use of 2010 Winter Olympics educational materials in the classroom.

Ann Whiteaker, president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, was caught off-guard when told by The Vancouver Sun of the government’s decision. She had just prepared a news release urging parents to lobby government aggressively to preserve the grants, which amounted to $20 per student last year.

“I’m very upset,” Whiteaker said in an interview. “It’s going to have an impact in the classroom.”

In the past, the grants have complemented fundraising efforts and allowed parents to purchase playground equipment, pay for field trips, buy computers, software and books and organize cultural and sporting events.

Poor schools will be particularly hard hit by the reduction because their parents struggle to raise money independently, Whiteaker said.

“They are the ones that need more services . . . and they’re the ones that are going to be hit even more.”

Read more at http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/cuts+grants+parent+groups+schools/197...