Special Education Funding – Changes Intended for 2020 in VSB

Speaking notes from Nancy Palejko to JO PAC, April 2019

npalejko@vsb.bc.ca

Currently, if your child has some difficulty in school in elementary (or in high school) they will be tested and then will be given a designation:  anywhere from having a learning disability to being on the autism spectrum.  When our school board receives that information, it sends it on to the Ministry of Education and they give our School board extra money.  That money goes towards providing smaller more teachers so we can have smaller class sizes to accommodate your children’s diverse needs and goes towards paying for Educational Assistants among other things.

The government would like to change the funding model. This model has been created by a panel that had no representatives of parent, teachers or school support staff.

Instead of paying extra for every student that is designated, and that changing every year depending on numbers, they would like to stop testing and just average it all out. They would like to take a snapshot of British Columbia’s children over the last few years and would like to make a generalization.

EXAMPLE:

Let’s say Vancouver has 1000 students had 13 kids on the autism spectrum in 2014 but for the last 3 years had 10 and this year has 11.

That means an average of 10.8 in a year.

So that means they’d like to fund us for 11 students a year.

What if next year we have 12 or 13, as we did in 2014?

  • They will not be sufficiently funded.

Problems:

If you are a vocal, well-off parent you will have the time and means to fight for your child. If you are at all disadvantaged, you won’t be able to advocate for your child and neither will your child’s teacher.

If no one tests our population of students, over time the statistics that Stats Can has and that BC has will become outdated. We will not see trends emerging.   (For example, researchers at Queens university had to use BC stats to gather data on rates of Autism because we measure it – not Ontario – who uses a prevalence model).

This might work if the default was to provide a generous budget to schools.  But when school boards don’t get enough funding to support their special needs students, they take money from other programs – like band, sports, mini programs, breakfast programs, resources, technology upgrades, mentor programs etc. you name it.

Please contact your MLA to tell them how you feel about the Prevalence model.

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