Local News

Decoda speaks on cuts to literacy funding

3/5/2013

Two years ago the Ministry of Education cut funding for literacy programs given to Decoda Literacy Solutions from $2.5 million, to $1 million. Thanks to reserve money from previous mergers Decoda was able to continue their normal operations for the past two years. Now that the reserve money is gone funding for nearly half of the literacy programs across the province supported by Decoda will be cut. Decoda CEO Brenda LeClair says that they need to come up with more money.

"This year we've received only one million. There's no way to divide $1 million among all the communities. By the way the number of communities that are touched by the 102 task groups are 400 communities. That's almost every community in the province, and it was virtually an impossible task to divide that one million dollars out. Decoda doesn't have the ability to add $1.5 million. We're a not for profit organization and we don't have those kind of funding resources."

LeClair says they investigated many potential funding models with the $1 million, but says $2.5 million is the bare minimum they need to adequately provide their funding, and they are currently looking at ways to raise the extra $1.5 million.

"Government won't pay for the whole bill, and private and other groups, foundations etc, won't put dollars in unless they see government funding there. So that's the model we're trying to build long term. Unfortunately we haven't had enough time on the ground where all the communities have additional dollars from other sources going in. "

LeClair says this money is important to raise due to how she describes literacy's role in today's society.

"One of the difficulties with literacy is in some people's mind people still think of it as a charity, a nice to do. These days it's an essential human right and an investment in people's lives. They can't participate in the economy, or in the society without having a base of literacy and essential skills."

The affected communities, which includes all of north-eastern BC, will see the cuts come into effect in June.