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Education Funding

A Brief to the

Select Standing Committee on


Finance and Government
Services
from the

Langley Teachers Association


Richard Beaudry, Vice-President
September 29, 2015

Honourable Members, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you


today. Our concerns, in Langley, are similar to School Districts across
BC in that adequate funding for public education is a concern for the
public at large, parents and teachers specifically and how the funding
directly affects students in classrooms.
I would like to start off by recalling two specific items called for by the
Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.
In November 2014, the Committee called for the government to
undertake the following:
22. Provide stable, predictable, and adequate funding to enable school
districts to fulfill their responsibility to provide continued equitable
access to quality public education, and to meet required repair and
maintenance needs.
23. Provide adequate capital funding to school districts for facility
improvements, seismic upgrades, and additional schools in rapidly
growing communities.
My Presentation today is two-fold, first to address funding on a local
level and second, to speak to the benefits of increasing funding
provincially.
1. The Langley School District
Langley is a district that has seen, in the last few years, exponential
population growth in the Willoughby area. As the Willoughby area
develops with an ever-increasing number of new houses, townhouses
and condominiums, the areas schools are filling up and bursting at the
seams. This is not a new phenomenon, as it was presented to the
public back in 2012:
Mountain Secondary is bursting at the seams, with 11 portables and
three more on the way.
Even with the new middle school coming to Willoughby in 2014, it may
not relieve the pressure because more families are choosing to move
to the area, said Hugh Skinner, of GHMA Architects, the consultant
hired to create Langley School Districts Long Term Facilities Plan.
Its somewhat like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic, with

Langley School District reconfiguring elementary schools and building a


middle school to relieve pressure on an exploding school population in
the Willoughby and Walnut Grove area.
On top of that, one in five students in Langley are selecting choice
schooling fundamental, French immersion and fine arts and all
have long waiting lists.
There will be 17 schools in the Willoughby area in the future. Langley
will need up to 10 new elementary schools, four middle schools and a
new high school over the next 15 years most of them in the
Willoughby area. Monique Tamminga, Langley Times, April 25,
2012.
Based on current population expectations, the overcrowding can only
get worse, with Yorkson Middle School hitting 1,343 students and R.E.
Mountain reaching 1,455 students by 2020. This would effectively
double the existing student population capacity at Mountain. Both
schools are expected to rely heavily on portables in the near future;
three portables were installed at the Yorkson site before construction
was even finished.
The announcement in 2014 that the ministry wants school districts to
pay for more of the capital cost of new schools is complicating an
already difficult situation with the government suggesting that some of
the capital is to come from land sales of surplus school sites.
Early in 2014, trustees in Langley were told there was $4 million
available (in local funds) to build a new high school in Willoughby a
school that will cost at least $60 million.
The district would also like to expand R.C. Garnett Elementary. The
expansions are needed despite the fact that three schools have opened
in the last three years in the Willoughby area.
Parents in the Willoughby area were told that the Education Ministry is
asking districts to contribute 50 per cent of capital costs.
A few years ago, SD 35 accumulated a large deficit. The district
worked very hard the repay the deficit and to balance its budget in the
ensuing 4 years, as mandated by the government. Even with balanced
budgets, the Ministry has continued to ask districts to cut their
budgets. The provincial budget, tabled in February 2015, directed all

60 school districts in B.C. to slash $29 million last year, and another
$25 million this year.
It becomes clear that adequate funding for new schools becomes
difficult when school districts are continuously asked to cut their
budgets.
Per Pupil Funding in BC
The convergence of lower spending per pupil and child poverty in BC is
affecting the success rates of students in the province.
According to Statistics Canadas latest figures, for 2010-11, B.C.
records the second-lowest spending per pupil in Canada, after Prince
Edward Island, at $11,832. And according to the annual First Call
Report Card (2014) the child-poverty rates in B.C. climbed from 15.5
per cent in 1989 to 20.6 per cent in 2012.
In a recently published study in the Journal Education Next, research
has shown that there is a significant correlation between increasing
per pupil funding and graduation rates for low-income students.
For children from low-income families, increasing per-pupil spending
by 10 percent in all 12 school-age years increases family income by
17.1 percent. Effects on family income may reflect:
a) increases in ones own income,
b) reduces the annual incidence of poverty in adulthood by 6.1

percentage points.
They conclude that the estimated effect of a 22 percent increase in
per-pupil spending throughout all 12 school-age years for low-income
children is large enough to eliminate the education gap between
children from low-income and non-poor families.
In summary, the research of C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson and
Claudia Persico shows that, for children from low-income families,
predicted increases in school spending are associated with increases in
adult economic attainment in line with their educational
improvements, and likely reflect improvements in both the quantity
and quality of education received. Taken together, these analyses
show that increased school spending had important positive effects on
adult wages, family income, and poverty status.

Thank you.