Board provides funding model suggestions to Gov’t

On April 24, the SD62 Board of Education sent a letter to the Ministry of Education. In their letter, the Board highlights a few suggested changes to current funding model.

Mr. Chris Trumpy, Panel Chair
Independent Review Panel
c/o Ministry of Education
K-12 Public Education Funding Allocation System Review
620 Superior Street
Victoria, BC   V8V 1V2

Dear Mr. Trumpy and Panel Members:

Re:  School District No.62 (Sooke) Funding Model Review submission

Thank you for the opportunity to submit SD62’s views on the funding model and potential changes for the future.

SD62 is one of the fastest growing school districts in British Columbia.  We currently have a student population of approximately 11,000 students and are situated in a suburban/rural setting.  Growth has been consistent over the last decade at a rate of 3 – 5%.  This unprecedented growth has resulted in struggles to provide adequate spaces and resources for students.

In reviewing other submissions, we have chosen to focus on a few specific areas that impact SD62 directly.

Cost of rapid growth

There is a false assumption that the current model favours growing districts.  While this may be true for districts that have faced significant declines and are now growing, the opposite is true for districts that are actually growing beyond their historical size.  For example, in a district such as SD62, the 300 – 500 new students each year do not have a place to learn (portables), furniture (desks, chairs, tables, projectors, etc.) or resources (books, texts, manipulatives, technology, etc.).  The aforementioned costs are significant when they accumulate year after year.

The previous model made allowances for districts in rapid enrolment decline, through supplements for Funding Protection and Enrolment Decline.  Allowances for rapidly growing districts were not accounted for in the funding formula.

Dual credit/post-secondary transfer allowances

Current programs that support secondary students successfully transitioning to post-secondary and trades programs have been very successful in encouraging students to further their education and training.  The Board is very supportive of these incentives continuing in the future.

Targeted funding for Aboriginal Education

Funding to support First Nations and Aboriginal students has been a success.  SD62 has seen great results through having an autonomous department dedicated to the education of these students.  The necessary and creative enhancements have resulted in SD62 virtually eliminating the gap between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal graduation rates.  This can been directly related to these targeted funds.

Support for Students with Special Needs

Of all areas in public education, the funding, assessing and delivery of services needs to examined critically to determine whether the current system best meets the needs of this population of students.

The public and stakeholders’ demand for more resources continues, while the district’s ability to meet these expectations falls behind.  The current system encourages testing for disabilities and labels that will drive additional funds to service students.  This “testing to dollars” system has a number of unintended flaws.  The first is the encouragement to “label” students with a disability.  This sets up a notion that the child cannot achieve and will require help throughout their school career.  This label can reduce expectations for the child and does not allow for normal developmental delays that happen through the population.  The second concern is that much time and funds are invested in assessing children for funding not to inform practice.  This is an expensive way to access funds for supporting students.

Although the Board recognizes that the funding formula is complex and cannot address everyone’s needs fully, we welcome the opportunity to provide input into the review.

Sincerely,

Ravi Parmar
Board Chair

Trustees:  Wendy Hobbs, Bob Phillips, Neil Poirier, Denise Riley, Dianna Seaton, Margot Swinburnson

Sooke School District

3143 Jacklin Road, Victoria, BC V9B 5R1

Phone: (250) 474-9800
Email: info@sd62.bc.ca

Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Friday