View Royal Elementary mothers Jen Wark (left) and Cristina Gage, say their kids aren’t getting the help they need due to lack of funding. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

‘This is unacceptable’: View Royal parents frustrated over lack of resources for students

Tight spending budget leaves educational assistants stretched thin

Two View Royal Elementary parents are speaking out against the lack of educational assistants at their school.

Grade 5 student Abby Wark and Grade 2 student Lincoln Gage are both on the autism spectrum. They’re well-behaved, aren’t boisterous in the classroom, but they require extra attention from educational assistants (EAs).

ALSO READ: Surrey union decries ‘epidemic’ level shortage of education assistants in B.C.

“Sometimes he gets shuffled between four to five EAs a day,” says Cristina Gage, Lincoln’s mother.

“This shouldn’t be the norm. I just want a basic education for my son and it hurts knowing he isn’t able to get that. It’s frustrating because he makes a connection with one and doesn’t know when he’ll see them next. It breaks my heart.”

According to her, Lincoln goes unsupported for an hour-and-a-half each day around lunchtime. She says he needs someone making sure he’s eating lunch and not hopping around the room. Last Monday, she claims he didn’t have any support throughout the afternoon.

One day recently, Abby walked around the schoolyard aimlessly without an EA during recess.

RELATED: Building a better learning environment for B.C. students

At a Greater Victoria Teacher’s Association meeting on Sept. 23, View Royal Elementary staff noted the shortage is causing a “triage” situation.

“Our kids aren’t ‘runners’ or have extreme behavioural issues … so they’re left to their own devices,” says Jen Wark, Abby’s mother.

“This is unacceptable. No one’s taking accountability. They’re just in a big circle pointing fingers at each other.”

Both women have sent letters to the Ministry of Education, but have yet to hear back.

The Ministry of Education provided the following statement in response to an interview request from Black Press Media.

“Our ministry is connecting with all 60 school districts to make sure their practices align with inclusive education policies to ensure that all children have equal access to an education. In addition, we are working hard to ensure supports are in place after many years of underfunding in our school system by the previous government.”

In response to staff concerns, the equivalent of two additional teacher days a week have been added as a temporary solution.

READ MORE: ‘Frustrated’ education assistant running for school board

“This fix isn’t cost-effective,” says Jane Massy, president of CUPE 947, which represents the EAs.

“These people love their jobs and the pay is decent, but they don’t get enough hours to make a living. Until EAs have at least 30 hours on average, it’ll be hard to hire new faces.”

On Sept 30, SD61 will be re-submitting their enrollment numbers for View Royal Elementary to the Ministry of Education in hopes of receiving a bigger spending budget.

But even if the budget is approved, that doesn’t guarantee kids such as Abby and Lincoln will get the attention they need. View Royal Elementary will be responsible for deciding where the money goes, not SD61.

“We’re not asking for the district or school to go above and beyond,” Wark says. “We just want them to support our children like they do with the rest of the kids. All of our children should have equitable support.”

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

sd61

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Two View Royal Elementary mothers say their kids, Grade 5 student Abby Wark (left) and Grade 2 student Lincoln Gage (right), aren’t getting the help they need due to lack of funding. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Just Posted

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Saanich councillor asks District to stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Coun. Nathalie Chambers duplicates ‘tried and true motion’ passed by Victoria in January

‘Not the monster everyone thinks’: Sister of human-trafficking suspect speaks out

Trish Kelly’s brother was one of four Vancouver Island residents arrested last month in Saskatchewan

Crews respond to house fire in Langford Monday night

Fire near Glen Lake Road and Haslam Avenue

Oak Bay ups deer management budget to $96,100 for 2020

Provincial grant approved for deer contraception program

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read