Education funding and school closings

Our news & views

January 31, 2017

Over the last few years, the Ministry of Education has made substantial changes to education funding.

As a result, school boards are trying to find ways to reduce costs. This table outlines the changes to the funding model.

Former guidelines and funding policy New model
The initial report from school board did not include recommendations, or suggested options.  
  • Initial board report must contain one or more options, including a recommended option, with supporting rationale for each option.
  • School board administration’s initial report must include information about why things like partnerships or sharing facilities with a co-terminus board are not viable options.
The school profile included school’s value to the students, school board, community, and local economy.
  • The profile includes only school and school board data – no information about value to the community or the economy.
ARCs met regularly over a year, develop a range of options and voted on recommendation(s). 
  • ARC acts as conduit for information sharing between the school board and the affected school communities
    • discusses and responds to staff’s initial report and recommendations
    • provide a summary of consultation feedback, including, if the committee wishes options developed by committee members
    • does not vote or come to a consensus on a final recommendation(s).
ARCs required to include membership from the broader community.
  • ARC must include parents from each school under review, and may include students and reps from the community – but not required.  Community feedback sought through open public meetings or delegations.
Municipalities could be involved as an ARC member with no other formal role.
  • School board must invite municipal reps to participate and school boards required to ask municipalities for technical support when developing a school’s profile (SIP) for the initial report.
Minimum of 7 months for ARC process with 4 public meetings.

  • 90 days for public consultation
  • 60 days between final report and board vote
  • Minimum of 5 months for ARC process minimum with 2 public meetings
    • 60 days for public consultation
    • 30 days between the final recommendation and the board vote
    • 15 days between public delegations and the board vote.
No exceptions to provincial guidelines.

Process cannot be shortened.

  • School boards may develop shortened process to review schools for closing, and shortened process can have no ARC, be a minimum of two and a half months, with a minimum of one public meeting with no committee consultations, and public delegations before Board of Trustee vote.
Declining enrolment grant supplied three years of funding
  • First year reduced by 50%, second year to be one quarter of first year grant, third year eliminated
Base top-up funding for school operations for schools at 65% of capacity
  • Base top-up funding eliminated
Elementary schools at least 20 km and secondary schools at least 45 km away from the nearest school in the same board eligible for top-up funding as “supported” schools.  
  • To qualify as a “supported” school eligible for top-up funding, the elementary distance reduced to 10 km, secondary distance reduced to 20 km.
Rural Schools (postal code is zero, or it’s listed as a rural school under GSN regulations) qualify for top-up funding.
  • No longer eligible for top-up
Foundation grant provided funding for staff for very small schools
  • Funding for staff for very small schools only in place for schools that are at least 20 km from nearest school for elementary, 45 km for secondary.
Supported schools which housed both elementary and secondary schools were funded as secondary schools.  
  • Funding for elementary and secondary teachers will be generated by separate calculations.
  • Change will generate more funding to encourage more boards to combine schools as Kindergarten to Grade 12.