Education minister George Abbott kept using variations of the word "challenge" during a half-hour telephone conference call with reporters on Tuesday to discuss the coming school year.
"It may be a somewhat more challenging school year," the minister said.
He was talking specifically about the deadlocked contract talks with teachers, but he sounded equally gloomy about the impact of the HST defeat on funding for new schools in Langley and Surrey, where population growth in some neighbourhoods has outpaced school construction.
"It [the HST defeat] adds an additional dimension into what is a challenging situation," the minister said.
There is a need for capital investment, he added, but it won't be easy to fund.
Even without the loss of revenue from the HST, the drop in revenues created by the international economic "meltdown" has forced the government to tighten its belt, Abbott warned.
"It is not a time we can be expansive when it comes to spending," he said.
"We don't have that choice."....