K-12 Public Education Funding Model Implementation
For the first time, B.C's children and youth in care will be recognized through a new supplement when funding is announced for school districts in March, 2020. This change will also expand priority funding to more children with mental-health challenges and those living in low-income families.
This is part one of a two-phase plan to improve the way education is delivered in B.C., following the completion of a comprehensive review that examined the ways in which the education funding system can help ensure every child has equal and consistent access to a quality education.
The Ministry of Education’s annual operating fund for K-12 public education is more than $6 billion and is distributed among 60 Boards of Education in B.C.
In 2018, the Province appointed an Independent Review Panel to undertake a review of how public education is funded for the first time in almost 30 years. The review involved input and consultation from all 60 school districts and over 350 education stakeholders.
The Panel presented a final report (PDF) on December 18, 2018, with 22 recommendations along three themes: equity, accountability and financial management. To understand what these recommendations would mean for students in the classroom, working groups were established in spring 2019 and members included parents, teachers, inclusive education advocacy groups and Indigenous education partners.
Final Working Group reports were completed in October 2019, and partners noted that some of the recommendations would be relatively straightforward to implement, while others – like how Government funds inclusive education or online learning – would require extensive work to ensure there would be no negative, unintended consequences for students
Following the completion of the review, the Ministry will implement recommendations with a two-phase plan, beginning with 12 of the 22 recommendations (specifically, 2, 3, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22).
Money allocated for the new priority student supplement will be provided to school boards to deliver services based on local needs and is intended for supports like trauma counselling, school breakfast or lunch programs, additional support in the classroom, transportation services or tutoring.
Recognizing these students for priority funding will ensure that the more than $6 billion in operating funding is distributed in a way that better represents the number of vulnerable students in B.C. schools. The amount of money allocated for the supplement will be announced following Budget 2020.
Indigenous students will continue to benefit from targeted funding for culturally-appropriate support and services. There will also be added accountability through formal processes, so Indigenous parents, communities and governments can provide input into how educational services are delivered to their children.
Immediate action is also being taken to meet all of the Panel’s recommendations to improve public accountability, including ensuring school districts:
- Engage parents, caregivers and community members in the development of school district strategic plans well in advance of setting their budgets to meet student needs.
- Continuously monitor and publicly report on student outcomes, such as numeracy, literacy and graduation rates, so gaps in student achievement are identified and services can be planned based on proven strategies.
- Ensure strategic plans and financial decisions are focused on improving student outcomes and meeting all students’ needs, especially students with diverse abilities/disabilities, Indigenous students, children and youth in care, students from low income families and other students that require additional supports in order to be successful.
These new accountability and transparency measures will give parents and caregivers a stronger voice, while making sure students’ needs are put first.
During phase two, the Ministry will continue working with partners to:
- Modernize inclusive education policies and the way services are delivered and funded, so all students have a level playing field.
- Modernize the delivery of online learning programs over the next three school years to better support the new curriculum and ensure every student has consistent access to a quality education, no matter where they live.
- Support students’ transition to post-secondary and the world of work with expanded career-focused programs in their graduation years.
The Ministry is committed to collaborating with education partners to monitor progress, ensuring the strategies that are proven to work best to improve student outcomes are identified and implemented.
The Ministry worked closely with the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) to establish a statement of purpose and guiding principles with the goal of working together to create a better model that is responsive, stable and predictable, flexible, transparent, accountable and puts students’ needs first. These principles have guided all work to date, and will continue to guide all future work.
Working Groups were tasked with assessing the implications of the Panel’s recommendations with the goal of identifying any challenges and providing suggestions to get things right. They met between March and August 2019 to engage further on the key areas and themes identified in the Panel report. The Working Groups shared an update in a Progress Report in the summer, 2019 (PDF, 3.1MB) and presented the final reports to the Minister of Education in October, 2019.
The Working Groups included representation from the following education partners and organizations:
- BC Association of School Business Officials
- BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils
- BC Council of Administrators of Inclusive Supports in Education
- BC Distributed Learning Administrator’s Association
- BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association
- BC School District Continuing Education Directors Association
- BC School Superintendents Association
- BC School Trustees Association
- BC Teachers’ Federation
- Canadian Union of Public Employees BC
- English Language Learners Consortium
- Family Support Institute of BC
- First Nations Education Steering Committee
- Inclusion BC
- Metis Nation BC
- Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training
- Office of the Auditor General
- Representative for Children and Youth
- Rural Education Advisory Committee