An independent review panel has released its final report on education funding in BC, making 22 recommendations.
Education Minister Rob Fleming says the report has identified challenges with the current funding model, which is resulting in inequities in services and programs, especially for students with special needs and vulnerable students.
He says the second phase will see working groups formed to provide advice by next fall, on how to move forward with key themes raised in the report.
“We want to make sure all students are getting the supports they need no matter where they live. I want to thank the panel for helping define the challenges and identify paths forward,” said Fleming. “Now it’s up to all of us who care about students to deliver solutions. Given the scope of the recommendations, we now need to work with our partners to better understand the benefits for students, parents, educators and school districts. It’s critical we get this right for our kids.”
The working groups will be formed in January 2019 to engage further on the key areas and themes identified in the report: inclusive education, distributed learning, adult education, financial management, accountability.
The working groups will include reps from teachers, parents, school administrators, support staff, trustees, superintendents, the First Nations Education Steering Committee and inclusive education groups.
The groups will report back in the fall of 2019. No changes will be made to the existing funding model for the 2019-20 school year.
Fleming appointed the independent review panel in February to look at the current funding model and to move B.C.’s public-school system to a better, stable and sustainable model.
The panel met with all 60 school districts and heard from over 350 education stakeholders.
Chris Trumpy, chair of the review panel, says the report provides a path forward for government to improve chances for all students, support greater accountability for how resources are used and strengthen the overall management of the K-12 public education system.
Glen Hansman, president, BC Teachers’ Federation , says teachers across B.C. have been eagerly waiting for the education funding model review report.
“I am thankful to the minister for outlining the next phase that allows for more consultation and collaboration. The entire education community needs to have an informed conversation about these recommendations, and I welcome the opportunity to do so over the coming year. I hope that the process will lead to changes that enhance both services to students and teachers’ working conditions, regardless of where they live and work in our province.”
Andrea Sinclair, president, B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, says parents have long been asking for greater equity in educational programs and services for all students, and greater accountability for how resources are used towards improving student outcomes.
“We are pleased to see such a strong focus on equity and accountability in this report. These were key elements of our submission to the panel and reflect what parents are seeking. This is a positive first step toward the creation of a new funding model that puts students’ needs first and foremost.”
The K-12 public education system in BC serves nearly 560,000 full-time equivalent students, with the province providing $5.7 billion in operating funding.
Enrolment has increased by more than 26,000 FTE students in the last four years and is projected to grow by another 15,000 over the next three years.