Saturday January 15, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
On this Saturday morning, the BC Ministry of Education has announced additional operational funding for K-12 schools.
Students, teachers and support staff will be better supported this year (2021-2022) with an additional $204 million in operating and special grants being distributed to public school districts from the Government of B.C.
This is on top of more than $6.3 billion being provided from preliminary estimates in March, and is the result of an increase of more than 10,500 students in B.C. public schools this past September. The increase includes:
* an additional $69.6 million for students with special needs, an 11.1% increase;
* an additional $7.5 million targeted for Indigenous education, an 8.2% increase; and
* an additional $3.7 million for English and French Language Learning (ELL/FLL), a 3.6% increase.
Highest student count since 2004:
The overall number of students in B.C. increased this year to over 667,000, the highest since 2004. This includes a net increase of about 10,400 students who moved to B.C. from outside of the province. In addition, there was a net increase of nearly 1,000 students moving from independent to public education this past September.
Increased funding for schools to support enrolment growth is part of the Province’s commitment to provide the best possible educational experience for students, while providing teachers and support staff the resources they need to deliver world-class education.
Budget 2021 ensures B.C.’s education system has the highest-ever school operating and capital funding to support students and invest in schools. This includes investing $21.5 billion over three years to deliver K-12 education, a $3.4-billion increase from 2016.
Special investment areas:
This increased operating funding is providing record investments for the supplement for children and youth in care, Indigenous learners, rural schools, students with special needs and supports for students with mental-health needs.
Children and youth in care, children living in low-income families and a greater number of students with mental-health challenges are benefiting from a $24-million supplement being allocated to school districts in 2021-22.
Districts can use the supplement to provide additional supports and services to these students, including trauma counselling, tutoring, mental-health prevention strategies or hiring additional support staff.
- Students at rural schools will benefit from a $331.8-million allocation this year, $9.7 million more than last year and $59.6 million more than in 2016-17.
- The amount of money school districts is receiving to support Indigenous learners and students with special needs is also increasing for the 2021-22 school year. Targeted funding for Indigenous learners is $98.4 million in 2021-22, an increase of $28.8 million (41.3%) since the 2016-17 school year.
- Students with special needs are being supported with $696.6 million in supplemental funding in 2021-22, an increase of $231.9 million (50%) since the 2016-17 school year.
Operating grants released in December are based on actual enrolment at Sept. 29, 2021, providing school districts with recalculated funding to support their operations for the current school year. Districts receive preliminary operating grants in March of each year based on anticipated enrolment.
Minister of Education:
The BC Minister of Education is Jennifer Whiteside.
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Island Social Trends editor Mary P Brooke has been following BC Education news, with a focus on SD62 since 2014 and also including a focus on SD61, SD63, SD72 and SD79.