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B.C. Conservatives promise to reform school funding

The B.C. Conservative Party, led by John Cummins (pictured), has not commented on the circumstances that led to Jeff Sprague’s departure from the campaign, except to call it an “unfortunate personal incident.”

Eric Dreger/The Canadian Press

The B.C. Conservative Party has released its education plan, promising to increase parental involvement in classroom issues and maintain stable funding to allow for multi-year planning.

Party Leader John Cummins made the announcement on Thursday at a media event held outside J.N. Burnett Secondary School in Richmond. "We're looking at reforms that will stabilize education and increase parental output," he said. "As B.C. Conservatives, we will work with teachers to separate the legitimate wage and benefit demands of teachers from classroom concerns. The issues of the classroom should not be addressed simply on a provincewide basis."

When asked what mechanisms his party would put in place to achieve this if elected, Mr. Cummins said the Conservatives would work with parent advisory committees, teachers and teachers' associations to ensure parents would have input in issues including the hiring of teachers and the selection of offered electives.

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Mr. Cummins also promised a B.C. Conservative government would keep education funding stable, suggesting four-year blocks at a time. "When funding is only on a year-by-year basis, it makes it very, very difficult to plan for the future," he said. "School boards and schools should be able to anticipate just what is going to be available."

The announcement came one day after the party's vow to "bring order to the management of BC Ferries" by merging three BC Ferries boards into one, accountable to the minister of transportation.

With three weeks until the provincial election, 11 per cent of decided voters and leaners say they would cast a ballot for the B.C. Conservatives, according a new Angus Reid poll.

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Based in Vancouver, Andrea Woo is a general assignment reporter with a focus on multimedia journalism. More

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