BC non-public faculties to gather $491 million in public funding this 12 months : Coverage Word

BC non-public faculties to gather 1 million in public funding this 12 months : Coverage Word

Sep 21, 2022

By Alex Hemingway

BC non-public faculties to gather 1 million in public funding this 12 months : Coverage Word

Personal faculties will accumulate practically half a billion {dollars} in public funding from the provincial authorities throughout this college 12 months in British Columbia. That is along with additional public subsidies to non-public faculties—together with elite prep faculties—within the type of numerous tax exemptions and credit. 

Provincial working subsidies to the non-public college system will rise to $491 million this 12 months, which is greater than double the funding degree in 2000/01 in inflation-adjusted phrases. This far outstrips the speed of development in funding to public Ok-12 schooling over the identical time frame. In distinction, half of the provinces in Canada, sensibly sufficient, don’t present any such public funding to non-public faculties in any respect.

The majority of the non-public college subsidies in BC circulate to 2 main classes: in the beginning, non secular faculties, and, second, high-tuition elite prep faculties. This public subsidy is allotted utilizing a system that gives funding at a charge of both 50% or 35% of per-student funding within the public college system (relying on tuition degree and general outlays that personal college spends per scholar). 

Extra types of public subsidy for personal faculties embody property tax exemptions, tax breaks on donations and tuition, and even a baby care tax credit score on a portion of tuition attributed to recess and lunch, a tax benefit that prep faculties like St. George’s have promoted to their clientele

Do most British Columbians need public assets directed to the non-public college system? The reply, maybe not surprisingly, isn’t any. Repeated public opinion polls have discovered that about two thirds of British Columbians oppose public funding for personal faculties, with this quantity rising to 4 in 5 opposed within the case of elite prep faculties.

Half of the provinces in Canada don’t present any such public funding to non-public faculties.

Whilst subsidies circulate to non-public faculties, funding for public faculties has fallen brief whereas educators battle to do extra with much less. Insufficient funding for college kids with particular instructional wants is likely one of the most evident gaps in public faculties right now. As evaluation from the BC Academics’ Federation exhibits, particular schooling funding from the province solely covers about two thirds of faculty districts’ precise particular schooling spending, a shortfall that “creates austerity pressures to ration particular schooling companies on the district degree and ends in the redirection of funds from different areas with their very own urgent wants.”

Going again at the very least 20 years, public faculties have endured persistent underfunding, ripping up of lecturers’ contracts, college closures, and enlargement of sophistication sizes underneath the earlier BC Liberal provincial authorities. Instructor shortages and recruitment challenges are one other long-standing downside that has solely been exacerbated by the pandemic. Given BC has among the many lowest beginning salaries for lecturers within the nation, about eight thousand {dollars} decrease than in Alberta, that is no shock.

BC’s educators have achieved a exceptional quantity underneath these circumstances, however there’s a value to pay for underfunding. There may be an pressing have to reinvest in our public faculties now and repair the damaged provincial funding system, particularly because it pertains to particular instructional wants. Few issues are extra essential to a society’s long-term success than a robust and inclusive public schooling system. 

BC has greater than sufficient financial and monetary capability to make that reinvestment. We’re an especially wealthy province, however an more and more unequal one. Taking half a billion {dollars} in taxpayer funding to non-public faculties and redirecting it to the general public system is one measure that might assist. This represents about 7% of the full provincial funding ranges to public faculties and 69% of earmarked particular schooling funding

Personal college backers declare that public financial savings from the withdrawal of subsidies can be lower than that as some college students transfer again into the general public system. That could be so, nevertheless, there is no such thing as a simple relationship between non-public college enrolments and public subsidy ranges. For instance, Alberta has increased non-public college subsidy charges than BC however decrease enrolment ranges. Regardless, if there was a development of personal college college students returning to public lecture rooms after the withdrawal of subsidies, that’s all to the great. A robust, common public schooling system could be one of many nice equalizers in our society.

Few issues are extra essential to a society’s long-term success than a robust and inclusive public schooling system.

One apparent place to begin a phaseout of public funding to non-public faculties can be the high-tuition prep faculties labeled as “Group 2” underneath the province’s funding rubric. Group 2 faculties alone account for greater than 10% of personal college subsidies.1

Group 2 consists largely of elite prep faculties like Vancouver’s St. George’s, which fees tuition charges of $29,600 per 12 months for “day college” college students (rising to over $60,000 per 12 months for boarding college students). This is only one of greater than two dozen publicly sponsored non-public prep faculties, amongst them Crofton Home College ($27,200), West Level Gray Academy ($26,860), Stratford Corridor ($28,670), York Home College ($26,250) and Shawnigan Lake College ($33,205). 

Public faculties have been underfunded for a lot too lengthy on this province and college students, together with these with particular instructional wants, usually are not receiving the assets they want. The excellent news is BC has each capability to shut the funding hole and reinvest in public schooling. Somewhat than persevering with to massively subsidize non-public faculties, these assets must be redirected to constructing stronger public faculties for all. 


1.  To be conservative on this calculation, I’m excluding the extra advanced circumstances of a small variety of particular education-focused non-public faculties and First Nations faculties, a few of that are additionally technically included in Group 2 class underneath the provincial rubric. We’ll assume that underneath a phaseout of public funding to non-public faculties, all of the funding at present going to particular needs-focused non-public faculties (in each Group 1 and Group 2) and First Nations impartial faculties (in Group 2) is maintained. These extra advanced circumstances signify solely 5% of the general $491 million provincial funding envelope.


Matters: Kids & youth, Schooling

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