Last week, I looked around a room where I was gathered with our education partners without internet access, having surrendered my cell phone moments earlier and been sworn to secrecy about our discussion. It felt like something out of a spy movie, but B.C.’s annual provincial budget lock-up in Victoria was a chance to hear firsthand what the 2024 budget had in store for the education sector and an opportunity to focus on the needs of K-12 public schools across B.C.

The annual budget lock-up gives stakeholders early access to budget details and insights directly from the government and senior staff at the Ministry of Education and Child Care before it’s officially presented in the legislature. I made the most of the opportunity to attend on your behalf, engaging with partners and decision-makers to ensure the needs of our boards were heard loud and clear. 

Positioned with stakeholders, I gained valuable insights from media interviews and strategy sessions, enriching my understanding of the province’s budget landscape and its implications for our public schools. One of the highlights of the event was my conversation with Jennifer Charlesworth, B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth. I found her dedication to youth inspiring and I emphasized the need for collaboration between our organizations to meet their needs.

I had the opportunity to speak with the president of the BC Teachers Federation Clint Johnston, the formidable voice of our teacher’s union, as well. It was a constructive dialogue, and we acknowledged that we face many of the same issues supporting our members. By working together, we can create a stronger, more supportive environment for teachers and students alike.

I also connected with various Ministry of Education and Child Care decision-makers. These discussions were invaluable in gaining insights into the government’s priorities and how they align with the needs of boards of education. Suzanne and I indicated that we are ready to collaborate and provide input to ensure that education policies are effective and beneficial for all.

Overall, it was a productive experience. The lock-up offered a wealth of opportunities to promote student success, cultivate partnerships and deepen my grasp of the provincial budget process. As your president, I am actively engaged in advocating for your interests and fighting for the best possible outcomes for our students and communities. Together, we will continue to make a difference for our students.

Read our news release on last week’s budget announcement here. You may also find it interesting to compare the results of the preceding 2024 budget consultation with what was actually in the budget.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out. Your feedback is invaluable as we work together towards ensuring a bright future for every student in the province.