New public school funding model could be in place by 2019, says ministry of education

Review panel appointed by Rob Fleming to change how schools receive public funding

A review panel that will change the way public schools are funded has been announced.

It will be the first time in 25 years public education has been funded differently, and could begin as soon as 2019.

The panel members were chosen by Rob Fleming, minister of education, and will move forward based on guiding principles that were co-developed by the provincial government, and the B.C. School Trustees Assocation.

Chairing the panel will be Chris Trumpy, a former deputy minister of finance. He was appointed by Fleming for the position on the panel, which will soon begin consulting with stakeholders and undertake further research and analysis on a new funding model.

The announcement of the panel was made on March 1.

The other six panel members are Flavia Coughlan, the secretary-treasurer of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows District and vice-president, B.C. Association of School Business Officials (BCASBO); Piet Langstraat, superintendent, Greater Victoria School District and former superintendent in the Alberta school system; Lynda Minnabarriet, secretary-treasurer, Gold Trail School District and chair of B.C. Education Marketplace; Kelly Pollack, a partner at Human Capital Strategies and founder and former CEO, Immigrant Employment Council of B.C.; Philip Steenkamp, vice-president, external relations at University of British Columbia and former deputy minister, ministries of Advanced Education, Aboriginal Affairs, Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and Regional Economic and Skills Development;, and Angus Wilson, superintendent, Mission School District and former superintendent of the Haida Gwaii School District.

The panel’s job is to review the current funding model. Right now, the Ministry of Education delivers $5.65 billion in operating funding to 60 boards of education throughout the province.

“The current system was established in 2002, and needs to be updated to reflect changes underway within B.C.’s education system, rising enrolment and to better support student success,” Thursday’s press release from the Province says. “The goal of the review is to find a better way to provide equitable and predictable funding to boards of education. A new funding model should also look to better support vulnerable students, including children in care, children with special needs and Indigenous students, as well as rural and remote school districts, and those with fast-growing student populations.”

They say consultations with key education stakeholders will take place during the spring of 2018. They will present a summary to the Ministry of Education, and a new model will be developed by government with implementation planned for the 2019-20 school year.

The following guiding principles are being used by the panel:

Responsive — Allocate available resources among boards of education in consideration of unique local and provincial operational requirements.

Equitable — Facilitate access to comparable levels of educational services and opportunities for individual students throughout the province.

Stable and Predictable — Support strategic, multi-year planning for educational programming and school district operations.

Flexible — Respect the autonomy of, and not unnecessarily restrict, individual boards of education in the spending of their funding allocations to further student success.

Transparent — Calculate funding using a clear and transparent methodology.

Accountable — Allocate resources to boards of education in the most efficient manner and ensure that resources provided are being utilized as intended.

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