COPE Vancouver School Board trustee Allan Wong has reacted with shock at the news of the provincial government’s firing of the Cowichan School Board for refusing to make significant cuts to the education budget in their district.

“The Cowichan Valley trustees were elected on a no-cuts pledge. They have passed a budget that is practical, well thought out and meets the needs of the students in their district,” said Wong. “The Minister of Education, George Abbott, accused the board of “political grandstanding” but feels free to routinely underfund education services and force drastic action to be taken by school boards in order to cover their fixed costs. The cumulative impact of these cuts hurts all students, especially those with learning challenges.” Wong added that the problems in Cowichan are the same as those faced by districts across the province.

Trustee Wong commends the Cowichan board for standing up for the children in their district and for refusing to be bullied by George Abbott. “I hope that Minister Abbott and Premier Clark are listening to the voices of people in Cowichan and to all those who say that education needs more money – and more attention – from this government.”