ESAs or Portables ???

Vancouver Sun

Dear Sir:

Re: Horgan vows end to portable classes in Surrey

About replacing those portables in Surrey with brick-and mortar schools: Aren’t there other alternatives? The cost for these permanent structures is astronomical!

The model adopted by Nevada is worth examining. Their circumstances are similar to Surrey’s — an immigration squeeze placed a big demand for school spaces and a huge need for portables. Their solution was to create the Education Savings Plan whereby parents would get an account to spend on authorized education choices — private schools, tutoring, customized programs, etc. The Parent Handbook explains and specifies the strict oversight to be enforced.

An ESA would provide for unbundling of education services, which need not be fulfilled in one building. Flexibility is a great spur to innovation and creativity, especially in meeting special needs and talents of children.

It’s not as if we in BC are unfamiliar with this concept. We had a small taste of this notion in 2014. In Sept when an extended teacher strike showed little signs of abatement, the Finance Minister’s office paid out $40 a day (13 days) to parents of primary public school students to find alternatives. Figure 180 days of a school year — that would be $7200 — a good incentive for parents to find or organize services other than in crowded portables.

 

[article in Sun and Province http://theprovince.com/news/bc-politics/mike-smyth-ndp-can-afford-promise-to-replace-surrey-portableshttp://theprovince.com/news/bc-politics/mike-smyth-ndp-can-afford-promise-to-replace-surrey-portables    LTE to SUN, not pub yet]

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