"Go ahead, the boards of education. If you want taxing authority, be careful what you wish for." That's what Premier Gordon Campbell told Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual convention delegates last week. This, after suggesting the province might "need a new funding formula for K-to-12." But, in an interview on Public Eye Radio, British Columbia School Trustees Association president Connie Denesiuk said that statemet, "took me a bit by surprise because it's not something that BCSTA has been asking for. It's not something that we've actually heard around our table for some time."
"There have been motions in the past with regards to local taxation authority," she continued. "As a matter of fact, during my 17 years as a school trustee this issue has come forward five times. And, each of the five times, the boards of education at the end of the day - through BCSTA motions - have not supported a return to local taxation. So, at this point, I'm not sure who the premier is referring to."
"At the end of the day, the big concern that boards of education have and that trustees have as they ponder over the question is lack of equity," Ms. Denesiuk said, when asked why the trustees have voted down calls to restore school board taxing authority. "And so there may be a wealthier area that can draw more tax dollars. And there may be an area in B.C. that struggles - is not as wealthy. And the result would be have and have-not districts. And even depending on the population of an area - a certain population may be more interested in putting more money into education and others not."
Ms. Denesiuk said the association's provincial council and board of directors will be discussing the premier's statement when they meet on October 23.