With full time enrolment estimates running at more than 521,000 thousand, most of the province’s students are heading back to school today.
Although it will take some time to come up with a definitive number Superintendent Dave Sloan is expecting the downturn in the economy will likely be reflected in the final total, in District 60.
“It’s really unclear. We’re projecting that we’ll be modestly up. What we’re finding is that for everybody who’s come in and for every new registration we’re finding corresponding departures so we’re flat we think at this point. Our projections back in the spring were for modest increases, maybe 50-100 and we’ll see if that’s true. What we noticed is the new registrations are giving addresses of the old registrations so we know families are shifting. Whether they’re shifting within the district or whether they’re moving right out of the district, we’ll have to figure that out in the first week. We certainly are not expecting any kind of dramatic decline.”
Meantime the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation says the government is providing a number of supports to families to help with everything from school supplies to food programs.
It’s an annual investment of nearly $1 billion, and the government points out, it comes on top of the more than $5 billion in funding to school districts.
Still the BC Teachers Federation continues to insist public education in this province is underfunded relative to the rest of Canada, and it ranks BC, lowest of all provinces in improvements to kindergarten to grade twelve education funding.
Quoting Stats Canada data it said in a statement issued earlier this year, that between 2008 and 2012 Board Operating Expenditures on public school increased nation-wide by 13.8 per cent.
However, while it was up 24.7 per cent in Alberta, and 22.1 per cent in Saskatchewan, it only increased 3.4 per cent in BC.