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.

 

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

Saanich man charged in cross-border drug smuggling operation pleads guilty

William Milton Barnes was charged following a six-month joint investigation

Advanced polls see 29 per cent increase in voter turn out from 2015

Some 4.7 million people took part, says Elections Canada

Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot

Local pharmacist shares concerns, recommendations before flu season hits

Victoria’s Ultimate Toy Fair bounces back into Pearkes

The family-friendly event runs Oct. 19-20 at Pearkes

Oak Bay win first Bridgman Cup since 1973

Annual UVic event is an indicator for coming South Island finals, Island finals and provincials

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

A waiver to enter the U.S. can cost $2,000 and isn’t a guarantee

Health concerns over vaping cast haze over Canadian cannabis market expansion

More than 1,000 people in the United States, and a handful in Canada, have developed a lung ailment

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Most Read