Libs pad teachers’ wallets

The Liberals want to give teachers’ a tax break. “Teachers regularly open their wallets to ensure their students have a good education,” said former superintendent of public schools and Liberal Mountainview candidate David Sloan...

The Liberals want to give teachers’ a tax break.

“Teachers regularly open their wallets to ensure their students have a good education,” said former superintendent of public schools and Liberal Mountainview candidate David Sloan.

On average, teachers spend $450 a year out of pocket for supplies for their students, according to a 2010 Canadian Teacher’s Federation survey.

“We want to put money back into the pocket of educators,” said Sloan.

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The Liberals are promising a $500 tax credit to cover teachers’ annual expenditures.

The Education Department already has petty cash to reimburse teacher expenditures, but it’s not enough, said Sloan. “The amount teacher’s spend often exceed what schools can bear.”

Schools also have a budget for essential supplies, like Xerox paper and whiteboard markers. But this isn’t what teacher’s are spending their money on, said Riverdale South Liberal candidate Dan Curtis.

“It’s not basic materials and textbooks,” said the Skills Canada Yukon executive director. “Teachers are always on the lookout for tools to enhance learning and engage kids.

“I know from my years in Education that teachers lay out huge personal expense to enhance the classroom atmosphere.

“So we want to reward teachers.”

Sloan remembers one teacher who used Harry Potter for a whole unit, including math and sciences in the theme.

They even had a magicians’ parade, he said.

“I know that teacher spent an enormous amount of money on supplies, and she never came to me for reimbursement.”

We want to encourage teachers to engage their students like this, said Sloan.

The Liberals have also promised to create a “tools-to-work” program that would provide a tax rebate for trades people purchasing tools for the job.

A certified apprentice can rack up $60,000 to $80,000 just buying the tools they need, said Curtis.

“So we’re going to give them $500 a year toward tools.”

With roughly 500 certified apprentices in the Yukon, that works out to $250,000 a year in rebates.

The Liberals will also raise the travel subsidy for students from the communities who are living in Whitehorse for school.

These subsidies haven’t increased for the last 10 years, said Curtis. But the cost of housing and food has gone up considerably, he said.

The Liberals would raise the travel/living subsidy by 20 per cent.

The Yukon Grant, for students, would go up by 20 per cent under a Liberal government, as well. It would also be extended to include a sixth year.

The Yukon Grant supplies students pursuing post-secondary education with $5,500 a year to be used toward tuition and books.

Books and tuition have gone up, but the grant hasn’t increased in the last 10 years, said Sloan.

“It makes it challenging for students.”

Contact Genesee Keevil at gkeevil@yukon-news.com

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