LETTER: Teachers do understand economics

I am responding to a recent letter written by Mr. Sawchuk from Duncan in the Oct. 5 issue of the Grand Forks Gazette.

Editor:

Re: A lesson in economics (Oct. 5 issue of the Grand Forks Gazette)

I am responding to a recent letter written by Mr. Sawchuk from Duncan.

His reports of average salaries are based on 2007 and 2008 figures.

When comparing 2011 salaries of teachers, with at least 10 years experience, the disparity becomes very evident.

Using this criteria, Alberta and Ontario teachers respectively earn  $21,000 and $15,000 more than the same educators in B.C.

The fact is, there is a total of seven provinces with higher teacher salaries than B.C.

Is it so unreasonable for our teachers to ask for a fair and reasonable increase that is comparable to other teachers in Canada?

Mr. Sawchuk claims that in order for B.C. teachers to be given a fair salary increase, taxpayers would have to pay more taxes but this simply isn’t the case.

Over the past 20 years, billions of dollars have been re-allocated from education to other priorities.  In 1991, 26 per cent of the provincial budget went to public education but now that number stands at only 15 per cent.

The Liberals reduced corporate tax rates to the point they are now the lowest in all of the G8 countries and mega projects such as the B.C. Place Stadium renovation, the sea to sky highway and Olympic games cost B.C. taxpayers billions of dollars.

If the Liberals made education a priority, we wouldn’t be having this problem.

Finally, his accounting of the hours teachers work is way off base.  According to the Employment Insurance Program, teachers can claim 9.1 insurable hours per day worked.  This takes into account all the extra time spent marking, preparing, etc. This works out to 1956.5 hours over the 43 weeks of a school year.

A person working a 7.5-hour day will hit 1950 hours over a 52-week period.  Teachers may work fewer weeks but put more hours into each one worked.  I think it is clear that teachers fully understand economics including fair market value for the many hours they give to B.C. students.

Norm Sabourin, Boundary District Teachers’ Association President