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October 28, 2017 2:42 am

“Tough Decisions Ahead” for PG School District says Education Minister

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 @ 9:59 AM

Prince George, B.C. – B.C.’s newly appointed Education Minister Mike Bernier says there are some “tough decisions ahead” for trustees in the Prince George School District this fall.

He made the comment during a teleconference this morning in light of last spring’s Cascades Facilities Management report.

“Despite the closure of 21 schools since 2001/02, the capacity in the district is still considered under-utilized as the enrolment continues to decline due to a decreasing school age population,” read the report.

The report also recommended the district make a funding request in its five year capital plan “for the amalgamation or renovation/replacement of Blackburn, Buckhorn, Pineview and Hixon as a combined project.”

Bernier, who didn’t indicate extra funding was forthcoming, was asked if school closures are the answer.

“They’ve done some great work up there but they have some tough decisions to make as well,” answered Bernier. “Locally elected school trustees and the board there, they need to look at what’s going to work well for your region.”

And as a former mayor of Dawson Creek, Bernier said he sympathized with the decisions trustees must make.

“Coming from a rural area, people definitely want to continue enjoying the opportunities that sometimes rural education has but with that comes some tough decisions,” he said.

“So those decisions, we allow the locally elected officials in your district to make within the funding envelope that they have.”

Speaking of funding, he added this coming fiscal year total funding to school districts province wide will reach $5.06 billion – up 31% since 2001.

He also noted the average per-student funding is now an estimated $8,902, an increase of 42% over the same time period.


I wonder how much this increase of cost per student is due to the huge cuts in transfer payments to the province ?

money made from northern resources should be spent in Northern Communities. When you have corporations who bring workers in from other provinces and other parts of BC and they don’t have a vested interest in our communities. They don’t move to our communities. Our communities populations shrink as families do not move to where the work is. So then we have a smaller tax base to support our needs and the monies made in the North go to support the South. It is time the North got it’s fair share

Typical #BCLib spin, talk about how much they’ve increased funding but no mention of the increased costs they’ve downloaded on the schools in the same time or the impacts of inflation. Just to name a few…new carbon taxes, massive increases in MSP premiums, increased Hydro costs, increased ICBC costs, all of which the schools have had to absorb with no increased funding to offset.

I agree with WorkingWoman. The northern resources are what drive British Columbia. It would be nice to see some real reinvestment.
Just recently in the news I saw a new French immersion school in Surrey called Cougar Creek. They have 6 students registered. They’re shutting down schools in the north, and building new ones that aren’t wanted in the south. Thanks BC Liberals.

Looks like its everyones fault except those who live in this District. Hmmmmm. Blame the Government, Blame the Corporations, Blame people who come to this area to work, etc; etc; etc;

Lets also blame all the people that leave this town and go to live on the Island, Kelowna, or Greater Vancouver area, or who go to work in Alta.

Did we miss the point that enrolment is continuing to decline. ???

I agree with WorkingWoman. The northern resources are what drive British Columbia. It would be nice to see some real reinvestment.


there’s only one problem with that idea. We are giving those recourses to the corporation. Check the deal that Christy Crunch just signed with Malaysia.

And Pal many of the problems we have are related to bad government.

So Palopu if they are shutting down schools. And there is a decline in students then why are costs going up? Less teachers to pay, a lot less buildings to look after so less maintenance staff..less staff other than teachers..Less students to teach…

People too concerned with ‘bike lanes’ to give a crap about the lack of students in PG. Maybe if the city started acquiring residents, we wouldn’t have to worry about this…

Fate – good point. Minister throws up smoke mirror about how much funding per student has increased but you correctly point out, a lot of that went to pay for downloading by the government.

I think declining enrollment is more a function of couples having less children. One of the reasons you’re seeing TFW’s is because that once abundant supply of teenager help no longer exists. 1.42 kids per couple per Stats Can is B.C. birth rate. It’s simple math, if your population remains constant, your number of kids is going to decline – hence the baby boom, now baby bust.

Canada is currently supplementing the declining birthrate by increased immigration. Now this is just anecdotal, but it seems to me I’ll see more than usual number of black people around town, clearly from another land, but then it seems to return to normal after awhile. I think people who are immigrating to Canada, are coming to Prince George because the Feds make them, and get out as fast as they can after meeting the residency requirement. So maybe our problem is more, we don’t do enough to make immigrants feel welcome, and we do a poor job of showing them how to enjoy living in the North so they move to the urban areas. Pure speculation on my part.

“I wonder how much this increase of cost per student is due to the huge cuts in transfer payments to the province ?”

Saw Harper today on TV saying that we never had it so good as now and that Canada has outperformed all other western industrialized nations!

Wonder what he was referring to?

Ski51: one reason you see a lot of people in PG who don’t obviously “fit in” is that they might be international students, of whom there are many at the college and UNBC. Once they complete their studies, they often return to their home lands.

PrinceGeorge: Yes, what is Harper talking about? Canada is dead last in the G8 in terms of current GDP growth.

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