2015.20 Funding for Private SchoolsApril 8, 2015
Submitted by: Central Okanagan Parent Advisory Council (COPAC); SD #23
Be it resolved that
BCCPAC insist that the government redesign its funding formula for independent schools to remove the unfair advantages inherent in its current policy by doing the following:
1. Only fund Special Needs Categories 1-3 to the 50% (Group 1) or 35% (Group 2) base standards used for independent school grants.
2. Only include the funding amounts for English Language Learners, Aboriginal Students, Adult Learners and Vulnerable Students (associated with poverty) if the independent school actually has equivalent proportions ofproperly identified students in those categories enrolled.
3. Remove the public school’s declining enrolment supplement from the base amount used to calculate the per student grant for independent schools.
4. Only fund distributed learning programs to the 50% (Group 1) or 35% (Group 2) base standards used for independent school grants.
Proposer’s Position Statement Supporting the Resolution:
All funding designated for Public Education in B.C. should ideally be used to support the best Public Education possible – inclusive and fully supported. Independent schools receive funding from individual families and investors who have particular, individual or parochial group interests. Under current Ministry of Education funding levels, the Public system can’t provide adequate resources as are available to private school children. There is a growing two-tiered system with parents of means choosing private schools over inadequately funded Public Schools aided by funding policy and formulae that unfairly penalizes Public Ed.
Independent schools are now given as much as public schools -100% – for students with identified special needs in categories 1, 2, and 3, which encourages parents of children with these challenges to choose independent schools over neighbourhood public schools with poorly funded Special Needs supports.
Distributed Learning programs funding was increased to 63% (Group 1) or 44.1% (Group 2) of the amount that public schools are funded for Distributed Learning programs, rather than the basic 50% (Group 1) or 35% (Group 2).
The ministry includes the audited amounts allotted to public schools for English Language Learners, Aboriginal Students, Adult Learners and Vulnerable Students (associated with poverty) and includes these supplements in the total amount upon which the independent school funding is based, even if there are no English Language Learners, Aboriginal or other funded categories of students attending the independent school.
The ministry also includes the public school’s declining enrolment supplement in the base amount used to calculate the per student grant for independent schools, which can give the independent school a double boost when students move from a public school to an independent school. The student brings the ministry grant with them—effectively a voucher system.
Independent school parents also receive tax benefits to offset tuition costs based on some independent’s Charitable Status and other’s religious instruction time allowances.
The lack of transparency in these complex and confusing formulas makes it possible to disguise increases in independent school funding while public schools face continuing lack of adequate funding.
BCCPAC, Ministry of Education
BC School Trustees Association, BC Teachers’ Federation, Federation of Independent Schools Association
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