Erosion of French programs a concern to parents
A group promoting French language programs in School District 43 says the elimination of a co-ordinator and teaching positions will cut the heart out of French language instruction that has a long history in the region.
Heidi Le Faive, president of the 690-member Tri-Cities branch of the Canadian Parents for French, says planned cuts will affect both French immersion students, who make up almost 10% of SD43 enrolment, as well hundreds of other students in core French programs throughout the district.
"We're growing every year," Le Faive said. "How can you justify cutting from a program that's growing, because the demand is there?"
She said the French co-ordinator supervised cultural programs, including the expenditure of $360,000 in federal cultural funds, and organized professional development for French language teachers to ensure equity and access to programs across the district.
The loss of the co-ordinator position, as well as the trickle-down effect of teaching cuts, could jeopardize the program that has attracted students to the district, Le Faive said, and she's worried French-speaking parents will leave the district to attend the francophone school district that is building a new school in Port Coquitlam and opening up new classes in Coquitlam.
"If you lose the students to a different school board, all the funding goes with them," Le Faive said.
The group has posted a link to an online petition on its website and is expected to make its case to the board of education tonight (Tuesday).