Finance Committee Hearings coming to a community near you
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.
Under BC legislation, the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services is required to hold public hearings to gather input on the priorities for the February 2014 provincial budget. The hearings are an important way for community organizations, unions, concerned citizens and other key stakeholders to voice their concerns about the fiscal priorities that the BC government will pursue in its upcoming budget.
Post-secondary educators around the province have used these hearings to draw both the government’s and the community’s attention to the yawning gap between the stated priority given to public post-secondary institutions and the funding realities that those institutions have faced over the last decade or more. That reality is uncomfortably stark; real per-student funding has declined over the last decade despite claims that public post-secondary institutions are receiving adequate support from the provincial government.
With help from FPSE, our members Locals have played an active role in those public hearings. Our plan is to do the same this year. We know that access to affordable post-secondary education is increasingly difficult for many students. We know as well that it is through post-secondary education that our province is able to secure the skills and innovations it needs to sustain a modern economy. However, unless fiscal priorities are there to support those outcomes, BC will lag in areas of economic growth and social prosperity.
Over the next several weeks FPSE will work with Locals to ensure our voices are heard and our priorities are recognized in the Finance Committee’s final report to the Minister of Finance.