||Volume 20, Number
3, November/December 2007
Ministry backs away from secondary spending cuts
The Ministry of Education appears to be partially backing away
from its mid-year claw back of funds from school districts. Its
October 18, 2007 announcement of cuts to secondary schools had
created the potential for significant disruption of school classes
and programs in most districts.
In an attempt to deal with the controversy created by blindsiding
Boards of Education budget plans, the ministry has now released six
pages of revised rules for school districts to use in recalculating
funding for the current school year. The new policies are announced
in the document: "Frequently Asked Questions: Funding Formula
"It is clear that a revision of the revision of the funding
formula is under way," said BCTF president Irene Lanzinger.
"These changes continue to send shock waves in school
communities. The process of reporting to the ministry has just become
even more complex and time-consuming for school districts and once
again school districts are unevenly punished by the changes."
The ministry is short $50 million in a $4.3 billion budget.
"Where does it look for savings? Not to the ministry itself, or
its increasing bureaucracy, or to pet projects like the BC
Educational Leadership Council. Instead, they attempted to take it
directly from classrooms and from our most vulnerable
students..." said Lanzinger.
Clawing back funds that support students makes no sense when there
is a healthy provincial surplus of $4 billion. The question arises
why huge cost overruns have been tolerated for the downtown
convention centre but not when it comes to our childrens
At a meeting with Education Minister Shirley Bond, the BCTF
executive members raised the concerns expressed by the BCTF
Representative Assembly about the recent changes to the funding
formula. The minister provided a copy of Frequently Asked Questions
regarding the funding changes and also agreed that once the latest
data on class size and composition was available they should hold
another bilateral meeting specifically on this topic, in addition to
any discussion at the roundtable.