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Ministry of Education announces new funding formula

The Ministry of Education announced changes to their funding formula for districts today, following the August review of the formula where government heard recommendations from districts and education groups from across the province.

While the overall education budget will increase to $4.724 billion in 2012-2013 from $4.721 billion this year, Community LINK grants for schools with an increase in vulnerable students , which support school lunch programs, child and youth workers, community schools, and literacy and healthy school initiatives, will see an increase of $5 million this year, followed by another $11 million in 2013-2014.

Inner city schools, particularly in Vancouver, have been speaking out this fall over a lack of sustainable funding for programs like these, as well as the strain that education cuts have put on teachers and their vulnerable students.

Smaller districts will also see an increase in funding, from $1.5 million to $3.7 million to address the costs of operating rural and remote districts.

The province is also promising schools facing a decline in population--which is most schools in the province--will be guaranteed to receive 98.5 per cent of the funding they received the previous fall.

"These changes are the product of collaboration between education partners from all over B.C. - representing both urban and rural areas - all working together in the shared interest of crafting a more equitable, stable, sustainable education funding model," said George Abbott, minister of education, in a press release.

*The BC Teachers' Federation is pleased with the extra Community LINK funding, but says the new funding formula will force schools in poorer regions to fight with schools in richer areas for funding.

“If some children are winners and others are losers, what has happened to the principle of equity?” Lambert said in a press release. “Teachers believe that every child should have an equal right to quality public education, and our public policies should ensure that equity, not reinforce inequity.”

Lambert adds that the increase in overall funding next year is just $3 million, or "less than one tenth of one percent of the total. In fact it’s 0.06%, at a time when inflation is running at close to 3%."

Katie Hyslop reports on education and youth issues for The Tyee.

* Updated at 9:02 p.m.

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