ALMOST 5,000 new students have enrolled in B.C. public schools this year, and thousands of new teachers have been hired by school districts, says the Province.
By funding the memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), as well as supporting increasing enrolments for this school year, the government is providing $515 million for school districts in 2017-2018 to support the growth in the number of teachers and students.
Students are now benefiting from smaller classes with more teachers. School districts have hired more than 3,500 full-time equivalent teachers over the past year. A main component of the MoA is the Classroom Enhancement Fund (CEF), which funds new teachers, classrooms, space enhancements and other overhead costs. The CEF now totals $409 million for this school year – up $54 million from the June 2017 allocation of $353 million.
The majority of B.C.’s school districts continue to grow this year as more families are moving to B.C. In the September 2017 enrolment count, school districts reported that B.C.’s public schools had 4,974 more school-age students, compared to September 2016. Government is committed to funding this growth, so this means an extra $106.8 million in school district funding. The districts with the highest growth in numbers of students were:
- Surrey: 959 more students
- Langley: 439
- Comox Valley: 420
- Sooke: 372
- Nanaimo-Ladysmith: 304
Compared to last year, 43 of B.C.’s 60 school districts had enrolment increases, while 17 saw declines. In many districts, the number of students was stable, with the changes being relatively small. For example, 23 districts had fluctuations of fewer than 25 students either way.
The Ministry of Education is also conducting a comprehensive review of the education funding formula to ensure that students get the quality education and opportunities they deserve and so parents can have peace of mind that their children are learning in properly supported classrooms.
Education Minister Rob Flemming said: “It’s an exciting time for education in B.C. as more teachers and additional funding will all help make B.C.’s education system better for students in the years to come.”
Gordon Swan, President, British Columbia School Trustees Association, said: “BCSTA is pleased to see the continuation of full funding for student enrollment increases reflected in the December operating grants update to school districts. A continued government commitment to fully fund the growing student population across much of the province is both significant and appreciated.”
- There are 537,086 school-age students enrolled in B.C.’s public schools as of September 2017.
- Student enrolment is up for the third year in a row – approximately 15,000 students have been added in that period.
- Independent schools enrolled nearly 83,500 students in 2016-17.
- School districts were informed of the funding in the updated operating grant tables released to them this week and published on the ministry’s website.