Education funding and school closings
Over the last few years, the Ministry of Education has made substantial changes to education funding.
As a result, school boards are trying to find ways to reduce costs. This table outlines the changes to the funding model.
Former guidelines and funding policy
|The initial report from school board did not include recommendations, or suggested options.||Initial board report must contain one or more options, including a recommended option, with supporting rationale for each option.
School board administration’s initial report must include information about why things like partnerships or sharing facilities with a co-terminus board are not viable options.
|The school profile included school’s value to the students, school board, community, and local economy.||The profile includes only school and school board data – no information about value to the community or the economy.|
|ARCs met regularly over a year, develop a range of options and voted on recommendation(s).||ARC acts as conduit for information sharing between the school board and the affected school communities
|ARCs required to include membership from the broader community.||ARC must include parents from each school under review, and may include students and reps from the community – but not required. Community feedback sought through open public meetings or delegations.|
|Municipalities could be involved as an ARC member with no other formal role.||School board must invite municipal reps to participate and school boards required to ask municipalities for technical support when developing a school’s profile (SIP) for the initial report.|
|Minimum of 7 months for ARC process with 4 public meetings.
||Minimum of 5 months for ARC process minimum with 2 public meetings
|No exceptions to provincial guidelines.
Process cannot be shortened.
|School boards may develop shortened process to review schools for closing, and shortened process can have no ARC, be a minimum of two and a half months, with a minimum of one public meeting with no committee consultations, and public delegations before Board of Trustee vote.|
|Declining enrolment grant supplied three years of funding||First year reduced by 50%, second year to be one quarter of first year grant, third year eliminated|
|Base top-up funding for school operations for schools at 65% of capacity||Base top-up funding eliminated|
|Elementary schools at least 20 km and secondary schools at least 45 km away from the nearest school in the same board eligible for top-up funding as “supported” schools.||To qualify as a “supported” school eligible for top-up funding, the elementary distance reduced to 10 km, secondary distance reduced to 20 km.|
|Rural Schools (postal code is zero, or it’s listed as a rural school under GSN regulations) qualify for top-up funding.||No longer eligible for top-up|
|Foundation grant provided funding for staff for very small schools||Funding for staff for very small schools only in place for schools that are at least 20 km from nearest school for elementary, 45 km for secondary.|
|Supported schools which housed both elementary and secondary schools were funded as secondary schools.||Funding for elementary and secondary teachers will be generated by separate calculations.
Change will generate more funding to encourage more boards to combine schools as Kindergarten to Grade 12.