British Columbia's total education budget for public and independent schools is $5.9 billion in 2017-18. This is a record $314-million (5.6%) increase from the 2016-17 fiscal year.
Students are completing high school at a rate of 8% higher than they were in 2001-02, with 83% of public school students graduating.
Per pupil funding in the 2016-17 school year is approximately $9,000, an increase of nearly 44% from 2000/2001.
More than half a million students are enrolled in public schools.
There are 1,566 public schools and 353 independent schools in B.C.
- Government has flowed extra funding to districts this school year to support student learning, help teachers bring the new curriculum to life and cut costs for families, including:
- $25 million of administrative savings returned to school districts to invest in students
- $27.4 million through the one-time Student Learning Grant to help schools with the cost of classroom tools and equipment to support B.C.’s new curriculum
- $1.7-million Rural Education Enhancement Fund to help keep rural schools open
- $14.7-million Student Transportation Fund to make bus services more affordable and accessible
- $28 million to ensure enrolment increases and labour settlements are covered
- $6 million to train teachers on coding and new curriculum and to buy computers
- Funding to schools in B.C. for students with special needs is approximately $1 billion in the 2016-17 school year, including basic student funding and targeted supports. Budget 2017 provides an additional $10 million in funding.
- The recent agreement with the BC Teachers’ Federation is expected to cost approximately $300 million per year for teaching positions (approximately 2,600 new teachers) and about up to $30 million for additional overhead costs.
- This school year, $100 million is going to the Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) to tackle class composition. In 2015-16 school districts used the LIF funds to hire:
- 313 new full-time teachers
- 848 new part-time teachers
- 44 new full-time support staff
- 198 new part- time support staff
- 611 part-time teachers made full-time
- 2,843 part-time support staff made full time
Provincial enrolment as of September 2016
- There are 641,127 students, based on headcount, in B.C.’s education system attending either public or independent schools.
- Since 2001-02, there has been a decrease of about 49,000 students overall in the province as a result of:
- 72,400 fewer students in public schools and
- 23,600 more students in independent schools.
- There are currently 66,285 English Language Learning (ELL) students in the province – 394 fewer than in 2015-16.
- There are currently 69,032 Aboriginal students, 1,279 fewer than in 2015-16.
- There are currently 28,194 students with special needs attending in public schools, 1,410 more than in 2015-16.
- Independent schools enrolled nearly 83,500 students in 2016-17, which is about 13% of B.C.'s K-12 population.
- 83% of public school students are graduating, 8% more than in 2001-02.
- 66% of students with special needs are graduating, 103% more than in 2001-02.
- 64% of Aboriginal students are completing high school, 51.5% more than in 2001-02.
- 87% of English language learners are completing high school, up 10% since 2001-02.
- Budget 2017 commits $2 billion over the next three years to maintain and replace schools, build more student spaces in growing communities, and seismically upgrade schools.
- Total capital funding for this coming year is over half-a-billion dollars ($687 million), an increase of 36%, or $183 million, compared to 2016.
- Since 2001, more than $4.5 billion in capital funding has seen:
- 192 school additions completed
- 164 seismic high-risk school replacements or upgrades completed
- 123 new and replacement schools built
- almost 623 school enhancement projects completed
- 32 sites acquired
- 30 school renovations
- Since launching B.C.'s award-winning Seismic Mitigation Program in 2004, government has spent $1.5 billion to complete 164 high-risk school seismic projects.
- There are 61 school seismic projects throughout B.C. under construction, proceeding to construction, or in business-case development under the Seismic Mitigation Program.
- Over the next three years, government has set aside $560 million to upgrade high-risk seismic schools throughout the province.
- Four schools worth more than $68 million were completed in 2016:
- $22.6-million Wellington Secondary seismic upgrade in Nanaimo
- $9.8-million Yale Secondary seismic upgrade in Abbotsford
- $20.7-million new Fraser River Middle school in New Westminster
- $15-million Okanagan Mission Secondary addition and upgrade in Kelowna
- Recently announced investments include:
- $217-million funding envelope to build an estimated 5,200 new student seats in Surrey.
- $44.3-million Kelly Road Secondary replacement in Prince George
- $24.4-million Maple Grove seismic replacement in Vancouver
- $4.2-million Ruth King Elementary seismic upgrade in Langford
- Over the last three years, government invested $153 million to extend the life of schools throughout the province under the School Enhancement Program. In total, almost 623 school improvement projects have been approved under the program, including roofing, lighting, heating/cooling and other efficiency upgrades.
- Since 2012, the Ministry of Education has lead the Expect Respect and A Safe Education (ERASE) strategy (www.erasebullying.ca)
- To date, over 15,000 public, independent and First Nations educators and community partners have received training as part of the ERASE strategy.
- All 60 school districts and many independent schools have a dedicated safe school coordinator (SSC) responsible for school safety issues. These SSCs respond to safety reports made through an online student reporting tool (http://www.reportbullyingbc.ca/) (https://reportbullyingbc.edudata.ca/apps/bullying/).
- All 60 school districts and many independent schools have Codes of Conduct in place and are also guided by the Safe and Caring School Communities provincial policy.
- School districts receive $52 million through CommunityLINK to help them fund programs to support vulnerable children and youth. Districts use this to fund breakfast and lunch programs, inner-city and community school programs, as well as school-based support workers and counselling.
- The B.C. School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program (BCSFVNP) aims to improve the nutritional health of students by delivering fresh B.C. fruits and vegetables, milk and healthy eating resources directly to B.C. public and First Nations schools 12 times throughout the school year.
- Since 2005, the program has expanded incrementally from 10 pilot schools to 1,374 public schools and 83 First Nations schools in September 2016, serving over 500,000 students from K-12.
- Since 2010-11, the B.C. Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation has received $25 million in combined funding from the Provincial Health Services Authority and the Ministry of Health to support the program.
- The Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in B.C. Schools are to be used in every school district to maximize students’ access to healthier options and fully eliminate the sale of unhealthy foods and beverages in B.C. schools.
- Class sizes in B.C. remain low and stable. The average number of students per class in 2015-16 was well below the maximum size allowed in provincial legislation.
- Of the 67,107 K-12 classes in B.C. public schools last year:
- 40% had fewer than 24 students
- 58% have between 24 and 30 students
- Only 2% of classes had more than 30 students and the majority of these are classes such as band, drama and gym, where it is appropriate and beneficial to have a larger number of students.
- Since 2005-06, the number of classes with more than 30 students has decreased by 85%.
- Average class sizes:
- 19.1 students for Kindergarten
- 20.4 students for grades 1-3
- 24.5 students for grades 4-7
- 22.9 students for grades 8-12
- There were nearly 9,800 full-time educational assistants working in schools in 2015-16, an increase of 48% compared to 2000-01. About one-in-three classes in B.C. have an assigned educational assistant.