Central Okanagan School District office on Hollywood Road in Kelowna. (File)

Central Okanagan receives less funding per student than B.C. average

In 2019, Central Okanagan received almost $400 less in funding per student

The Central Okanagan School District (COSD) is receiving significantly less funding per student than the average B.C. school district, according to assistant secretary-treasurer Delta Carmichael.

Carmichael said the school district received $8,966 in funding per student in 2019 while the average B.C. school district received $9,343 per student. That’s a difference of $377.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan school board approves drug-prevention program for 1,750 students

During the presentation on Feb. 19, school board trustee Rolli Cacchioni said funding by the B.C. government isn’t being distributed evenly across all school districts in the province.

“Some of these smaller school district have funding protection, even though their enrollment numbers are dropping,” said Cacchioni.

“That funding has been coming at the expense of the growing school districts for a number of years.”

The smallest 18 school districts in the province received almost $12,560 in funding per student in 2019, according to Carmichael’s presentation.

Central Okanagan school board superintendent Kevin Kaardal said the funding formula for shrinking B.C. school districts wasn’t meant to be a permanent solution.

“Funding protection for smaller districts was meant to be a temporary measure by the B.C. government to help get them to the same per pupil funding as other stable or growing districts,” said Kaardal.

“The B.C. government hasn’t found a way out of this problem yet”.

In 2018, the B.C. government initiated a funding review for school districts across the province. The report highlighted that funding should be based more on student needs rather than the amount of students in a district.

Despite the gap, Kaardal said there have been some funding improvements for the district.

“COSD used to be receive almost $700 less in funding per student than the average district.”

“We’re closing the gap and were doing things to be closer to that average.”

There are 270 more students expected to be enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year. There are currently around 23,000 students enrolled in the district.


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