Education Funding in BC
Updated January 2018
Funding for public education has increased slightly since 2001–02, but has been in decline since 2009–10.1
After adjusting for inflation, funding for public education has increased from $4.90 billion to 2001–02 to $5.45 billion since 2009–10, before declining by over $100 million.
Government spending on K–12 education as a proportion of total public spending has been consistently in decline since 2000–01.2
In 2000–01, spending on K–12 education made up one-fifth (20%) of total government spending. In 2016–17, spending on K–12 education made up less than 12% of BC government funding.
Funding for public schools has barely changed, while funding for independent schools has skyrocketed.3
Between 2002–03 and 2016–17, total funding for public schools increased by just 1.6%. In comparison, total funding for independent schools increased by 86.5%.
For public schools, costs have grown far beyond funding increases, resulting in cuts to many critical areas.3
For example, the money school districts spend on supplies has fallen by $57.6 million between 2007–08 and 2016–17. This is a decrease of 22.9%.
The lack of money has forced districts to look for other sources of funding.4
For example, the school districts have tried to attract offshore students, who would pay tuition. After adjusting for inflation, the total revenue from offshore students has increased by $170,744 between 2001–02 to 2016–17. This is an increase of nearly 250%.
1 Ministry of Education. (2001/02-2016/17). Service Plan. Victoria: Government of British Columbia.
Statistics Canada. (2017). Table 326-0021 Consumer Price Index—annual
(2002=100). Ottawa: CANSIM.
2 Ministry of Education. (2001/02-2016/17). Service Plan. Victoria: Government of British Columbia.
Ministry of Finance. (2001/02-2016/17). Budget Estimates. Victoria: Government of British Columbia.
3 BC Ministry of Education. (2008-2016). BC School District Revenue and Expenditure Tables. Victoria: Government of British Columbia.
Statistics Canada. (2017). Table
326-0021 Consumer Price Index—annual (2002=100). Ottawa: CANSIM.
4 BCTF research table compiled from school districts' Audited Financial Statements.