VANCOUVER—At a time when the BC Liberal government is forcing
school districts to cut $54 million from their budgets, the Ministry of
Education arbitrarily gave an additional $5 million to private schools based on
gains made by the BC Teachers’ Federation in last year’s strike.
“In calculating this year’s public funding to private schools, the
provincial government included in the formula almost $82 million negotiated as
the BCTF’s Labour Settlement Fund,” explains BCTF President Jim Iker. “Because
of that accounting decision, private school funding increased by at least $5
million this year.”
He noted that the power to manipulate the calculation rests with
the Ministry of Education and they chose to direct more public money to private
schools—regardless of any enrolment changes.
“That means the
gains we made through collective bargaining, taking strike action, and
sacrificing salary were simply handed to the independent school system,
including the exclusive private schools that serve BC’s wealthy elites,” said
Last September, Education Minister Peter Fassbender promised to
fully fund the labour settlement costs, but the provincial budget released last
week contained the unwelcome news that school boards are required to cut $29
million this year and another $25 million next year.
“I think BC teachers, parents, and average taxpayers will be upset
to see gains from our hard-fought struggle to improve public education used to
boost funding for private schools. The Minister of Education should immediately
reverse this decision and direct that funding back to BC’s public schools,”
Depending on the type of private school, public funding is set at
50% or 35% of the amount allocated to public schools in the same district. Independent school funding in BC has
increased more than 60% in the last decade, compared to less than 20% for
For much more information on independent school
funding, read this new
the BCTF Research Department. Ministry budget projections
for the next three years show further major gains for private schools. Learn
more about that here.