The BC Teachers’ Federation recently had the opportunity to present our recommendations for the 2023 provincial budget to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, as part of the government’s annual consultation process.
A summary of our recommendations can be found below. Click here to read the complete Education Funding Brief 2023 submission.
Summary of BCTF recommendations
Over the past several months, news headlines have been filled with stories that illustrate the realities of an underfunded public education system. All across BC, school districts are facing “tough budget decisions” and gaping budget shortfalls. To manage deficits, school boards have announced deep cuts to children’s music programs and the removal of positions that provide support to students that need it the most.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed exacerbated the pressures on public education, the budget shortfalls and other challenges currently facing BC education are the cumulative effects of over 20 years of grossly underfunding public education. BC continues to fall behind other provinces in funding. Funding for inclusive education, a key value of our provincial education system, remains woefully inadequate. The lack of investment into teacher recruitment and retention remains a chronic challenge that undermines the foundations of education in BC.
Recommendation 1: Abandon the current path of austerity and increase educational funding to meet the real, identified needs of classrooms, schools, and school districts.
Recommendation 2: Provide dedicated funding for teacher recruitment and retention initiatives across all school districts to address the acute teacher shortage in BC.
Recommendation 3: That the Ministry of Education terminate the consideration of a prevalence-based model for special education funding and align special education funding with identified special education needs, including targeted funding for early identification and designation of students with special needs and per-student funding amounts for high-incidence designations.
Read the full BCTF Education Funding Brief 2023 for detailed rationales of each recommendation.
The Institute for Public Education BC (IPEBC) submission to the 2023 budget consultation process is closely aligned with the BCTF’s recommendations, bringing attention to the declining percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) allocated to funding public education over the past 20 years. The IPEBC submission calls for a return to the 2.5% that was allocated in 2002. Read the full IPEBC submission: Restoring the Percentage of the GDP Spent on K-12 Public Education.