Dear Editor:

Social programs in a capitalist society are a luxury. They can only exist where there are volunteers, or only to the limit of extra monetary funds from taxes.

Such is the situation socially for health care, policing, education, and funding of all other government programs and employees.

I will speak for what I believe is the opinion of the silent majority. So far B.C. teachers have failed to understand the tax budget limit of our society. It is not a cruel elected Government they are confronting, but our Government representing us taxpayers and attempting to balance a finite amount of tax money among various social programs and employees.

Do we all want a better education system? Well, surely we do. This is not just a teacher wish. But B.C. teachers have demanded a raise of 15 per cent over three years and many extra changes and benefits amounting to a 70 per cent increase in public education costs per year; money we dont have.

Last year, our local teachers salaries and benefits costs averaged $88,711 for 194 days versus a normal workers 235 days per year. Included is $2,300 per teacher for living in a remote community!

Since salaries account for the bulk of all public education costs, how will we ever afford better programs with teachers present personal demands?

Are teachers and schools a necessary service that should be curtailed from strike closure? Perhaps they are.

Teachers, along with us, know the tradition that children will be in school while parents work. If this sounds like schools are in part a child-sitting service, its because, of course, they are.

Strike closures of schools result in most parents suspending work; work that supplies personal and business social tax money. Striking also critically affects students, high school students especially. Until B.C. teachers stop demanding unrealistically, including non-normal employee perceived rights, while threatening ransom, legislation by our societys government must be implemented.

Please do not confuse this in any way to be a challenge to the dedication and ability of teachers. My ex, a best friend, and one of my siblings are/were teachers. Teachers work hard, as we all do equally.

However, if all the foregoing is not easily clear to them, then our public education fails us in elementary logic, social contract, and math.

Bill Ark

Invermere