The B.C. government's ad campaign defending their position in the teachers' dispute has cost more than $1.7 million, leaving the union to wonder why that money couldn't have gone to the education system instead.

The province's television ads have been running since Feb. 4, at a cost of $724,000. Radio commercials have cost nearly $600,000, and the government is also paying to advertise in print and online.

Gail Chaddock-Costello, president of the Langley Teachers' Association, says that cost belies government claims that it has no more money to pump into the system.

"Teachers are appalled that taxpayer money is going to pay for anti-teacher ads," she told CTV News.

"They have no money for public education and yet they have money for their attack ads out on one of their public services such as public education."

Teacher Roxanne Reid-Rojas described the cost of the ads as "horrifying."

"They could have used that and given it to the teachers and solved part of the problem," she said.

Education Minister George Abbott was not available for comment Tuesday, but ministry officials said the advertising costs are not coming out of the education budget. Government representatives say the ads are necessary to counter what they describe as misinformation from the BC Teachers' Federation. The campaign ends Wednesday.

The teachers' union paid $1 million for an ad campaign that ended last month.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee