Each and every one of British Columbia’s 5,676 new students will be funded, thanks to an extra $46.7 million that will flow to school districts with increased enrolments this school year, Education Minister Mike Bernier announced today.
“B.C.’s strong economy is attracting families from other provinces and other countries – and this means new students in our school system after years of decline,” Bernier said. “Our strong economy also means we have the ability to make investments like today’s and make sure every single new student is fully funded.”
Forty-two of B.C.’s 60 school districts had enrolment increases this school year, while 18 saw declines. It’s important to note that in many districts, the number of students was stable with the changes being relatively small. For example, 14 districts had fluctuations of fewer than 25 students either way.
The districts with the highest growth in numbers of students were:
- Surrey (+993)
- Langley (+697)
- Abbotsford (+484)
- Sooke (+572)
- Comox (+427)
“The B.C. School Trustees Association is pleased with Minister Bernier's confirmation that the Ministry of Education will be fully funding this year's additional students, as previously indicated," said Teresa Rezansoff, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association. "Likewise, the recognition of the need for predictable funding going forward will greatly assist boards with their upcoming 2017-2018 budget process.”
The funding boost maintains the provincial commitment to keep the average per-pupil rate the same as it was at the start of the school year, which helps districts with their financial planning. In fact, the record high average per-pupil rate will increase to $8,969 for this school year.
The ministry is also providing funding protection to 17 districts with enrolment declines to help mitigate the impact of those changes.
School districts were informed of the funding in the updated Operating Grant Manuals released to them this week and published on the ministry's website.
- In total there are 532,113 full-time equivalent students enrolled in B.C.’s public schools.
- In September 2016, there were 1,672 students with refugee backgrounds with 500 of those being newly identified refugees in the system in September 2016 – 330 are from Syria.
- Despite recent increases, enrolment in public schools is 55,000 students lower than it was in 2001 largely driven by declining birth rates.
- The total Ministry of Education budget is more than $5.6 billion.
Enrolment by school district: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Fall_2016_School_District_Enrolments.pdf
Updated 2016-17 Operating Grant Manuals: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/administration/resource-management/k-12-funding-and-allocation/operating-grants/k12funding-16-17