Last month, the Campbell administration cancelled annual grants worth approximately $110 million to improve and repair the province's schools. But at least one provincial Liberal backbencher had previously hoped the government would actually increase that funding. In 2008, Jane Thornthwaite was among four North Vancouver school board members who encouraged the BC School Trustees Association to lobby then education minister Shirley Bond for such an increase. This, according to the board's meeting minutes for April 22 of that year.
But, speaking with Public Eye on Tuesday, Ms. Thornthwaite didn't seem to be as gung-ho about boosting that funding.
"This year is different than last year - we're in different economic times," the North Vancouver-Seymour legislator explained.
"The emphasis of the ministry of education was to maintain the money in the classrooms."
As a result, "getting school gyms refurbished for the school year was not classified as a priority."
Nevertheless, when those economic times turnaround, will Ms. Thornthwaite once again advocate for an increase to the annual facilities grants?
"I definitely will support what the school districts have decided with regard to their priorities. I appreciate the expertise they have and only they have," she replied, adding, "They're the best people to make that decision - not me."
British Columbia's school trustees have protested the cancellation of the grants, with the president of their association Connie Denesiuk personally expressing her "extreme unhappiness" to Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid.