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Education Funding in BC

Updated March 2019

Funding for public education significantly increased in 2017–18 and is projected to continue to increase in line with increasing student enrollment.

After adjusting for inflation, funding for K–12 education increased from $4.90 billion in 2001–02 to $5.45 billion in 2009–10, before declining by over $100 million. As a result of the BCTF’s favourable Supreme Court of Canada ruling in November 2016, funding significantly increased in 2017–18 and is anticipated to continue increasing overall due to increased student enrolment.

3graph1
Source: Ministry of Education (2000–19). Service Plan, Statistics Canada. (2019).
Table 18-10-0005-01 Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted.
Values are rounded to nearest ten million dollar.

However, government spending on K–12 education as a proportion of total public spending continues to decline.

In 2000–01, spending on K–12 education made up one-fifth (20%) of total government spending. Since then, it has declined to less than 12% of BC government funding.The budget for 2019–20 allocated just over 11% of government spending to education.

3graph2
Source: Ministry of Education (2000–2019). Service Plan; Ministry of
Finance. (2000–2019). Budget Estimates. Values are rounded to
nearest tenth of a percent.

An increase in overall funding has allowed school districts to purchase much-needed supplies. However, the increase has not reversed previous declines.

3graph3
Source: Ministry of Education. (2008–2018). BC School District
Revenue and Expenditure Tables; Statistics Canada. (2019).
Table 18-10-0005-01 Consumer Price Index, annual average,
not seasonally adjusted. Values are rounded to nearest million dollars.

Due to insufficient funding between 2002 to 2016, school districts had less funding to purchase supplies. In the eight years after 2007–08, when data became available, spending on supplies dropped by $63 million. Increased funding in recent years has allowed $27 million more to be spent on supplies, but more funding is needed to restore resources to adequate levels.

Inadequate funding forced districts to cut costs and look for other sources of revenue, exasperating inequities among districts.4

For example, the school districts have attempted to attract offshore students, and tuition from these students continues to increase. In 2007–08 offshore student tuition made up 2.7% of district operating revenue, but that has increased to 4.6%. This reliance has increased inequality as offshore students are not equally distributed among school districts. While West Vancouver School Districts enjoys having 13% of its general revenue from offshore students, 14 BC school districts have less than 1% and 11 have no offshore students at all.

3graph4

Source: BCTF research table compiled from Ministry of Education. (2019).
BC School District Revenue and Expenditure Tables; Statistics Canada. (2019).
Table 18-10-0005-01 Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally
adjusted. Values are rounded to nearest million dollars.



Ministry of Education. (2000–19). Service Plan.
Statistics Canada. (2019). Table 18-10-0005-01 Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted.

2 Ministry of Education. (2000–2019). Service Plan.
Ministry of Finance. (2000–2019). Budget Estimates.

3 Ministry of Education. (2008–2018). BC School District Revenue and Expenditure Tables. 
Statistics Canada. (2019). Table 18-10-0005-01 Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted.

4 BCTF research table compiled from Ministry of Education. (2019). BC School District Revenue and Expenditure Tables and Statistics Canada. (2019). Table 18-10-0005-01 Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted.

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