Central Okanagan Public Schools administration office in Kelowna. (File photo)

Central Okanagan teachers watching for changes in education funding

COVID impact may further delay funding changes first suggested in 2018

School funding issues remain top of mind for Central Okanagan school teachers despite the distractions caused by COVID-19 and a provincial election.

Susan Bauhart, president of the Central Okanagan Teachers Association (COTA), asked the school trustees for an update on any changes to the current school funding formula imposed by the ministry of education at the board of education meeting Wednesday (Oct. 15).

Kevin Kaardal, Central Okanagan Public Schools administrator/CEO, responded the school district has not been alerted to any funding formula changes at this time.

In an interview with Kelowna Capital News the next day, Bauhart said funding changes are “a huge and scary topic” hanging over the heads of school districts across the province.

She said teachers have concerns about funding formula changes possibly costing teaching jobs, citing two specific issues being closely watched.

One involves averaging out funding for special needs students. A ministry report released in 2018 called for funding for special needs students to be allocated using a prevalence-based model that relies on medical and socio-economic data to determine how many students with any particular need should be expected within a given population. Funding would then be automatic but not target based on any specific student.

READ MORE: Additional federal education funding welcomed

READ MORE: New funding formula could be in place by 2019

Bauhart says the system would essentially develop an average cost model for a given school district, meaning a special needs demand that exceeded the average would not receive funding, a shortfall school districts would have to account for.

She said teachers are also zoned in on high school funding currently based on student enrollment changed to a course-based formula.

“None of the details have come out yet on this but if the funding is based on the eight basic courses high school students take in a given year, a lot of kids are taking more than eight courses. So a switch to a different could mean fewer dollars coming to school districts,” she said.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said in December 2018 interview with a Lower Mainland newspaper that plans to change how schools are funded would be delayed for a year, to allow for more consultation with parents and teachers. Bauhart said teachers are hearing that delay could be extended for another year because of the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Fleming said the existing funding formula was imposed in 2002 without consultation and was accompanied by extensive cuts to school staffing and many school closures. It was brought in when enrollment was on the decline, but since then enrolment has been on the increase, by 26,000 alone in the four years previous to 2018, placing added strain on the provincial education budget.

Education funding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Superintendent of the Kelowna RCMP, Kara Triance. (Capital News file)
Non-violent crime, small population contributes to Kelowna’s crime rate spike, says RCMP

Kelowna RCMP is assuring the public the city is a safe place

RCMP cruiser drives through an alley near Rose Avenue. Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News.
Dozens of police take down man by Kelowna General Hospital

RCMP swarmed the area about 4 p.m. Thursday

Rutland Middle School in Kelowna. (File photo)
Replacing Rutland Middle School still a priority: Central Okanagan School District

Further delay to replace aging middle school disappoints Rutland Middle School parent advisory committee

Man experiencing homelessness lying on the bench. (File photo)
CMHA opens fourth supportive housing in Kelowna

Ellis Place will open on the first week of November

Image: Dave Ogilvie.
UPDATE: Man rescued in West Kelowna was injured hunting

The incident happened in the Glenrosa area this morning

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Crime up 31 per cent in Vernon in 2019: Statistics Canada

Increase includes a 45 per cent rise in violent Criminal Code violations

A Tuesday Oct. 27, 2020 apartment fire in Penticton killed two and displaced dozens more. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Fatal Penticton apartment fire deemed accidental

The blaze gutted an apartment building on Tuesday morning, killing two people and displacing dozens

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

This Photoshopped version of the crosswalks near the entrance to the Salmon Arm Arts Centre on Hudson Avenue show what is proposed to help create safety for and show inclusivity to the LGBTQ2S+ community. (Salmon Arm Arts Centre image)
Tri-rainbow crosswalk and Progress flag requested to help make Salmon Arm safe

Council will consider budget requests to help make city inclusive to LBGTQ2S+ community

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Most Read