Questions about implications for students with special needs

Following the release of a report from an Independent Review Panel on how Education funding is allocated in BC, the Ministry of Education invited partners to study and identify potential implications from the panel’s recommendations, prior to the implementation of a new model. Inclusion BC participated in one of the four Working Groups; the Inclusive Education Working Group, from February to August 2019. The Working Group’s October report can be found here.

Along with other Education partners, we continue to have unanswered questions about potential risks and opportunities for students with diverse learning needs under a proposed new BC education funding model. The Inclusive Education Working Group report highlights some of the common concerns arising from the current lack of a model to study and begin to understand its application. Additionally, ongoing engagement with partners and insufficient funding overall were themes in the group report which was submitted to the Minister.

In our January 20, 2020, Letter to Minister Fleming, Inclusion BC reminded the Minister of our key questions & concerns. We emphasized the need to inform all parties affected by any changes, including families and school boards, about the specific changes well in advance of the full roll-out:

The Working Group’s final report includes key considerations for potential implementation of a new funding model, specifically around the inclusive education prevalence model. These include:

1. Clear economic modelling prior to full implementation

  • Clear economic modelling needs to be made publicly available prior to full implementation so that everyone can understand how funding will flow to districts and classrooms that include students with diverse needs. This will minimize concerns that individualized student needs will be ignored.

2. Transition/Timing

  • Prioritized Support: Clarity on how the new model allocates appropriate funding and helps to fulfill a commitment to prioritizing support for individuals and communities with the highest needs;
  • implementation Assistance: Confirmation that support required to assist districts with the implementation of a new model will be worked out with each district prior to full implementation;
  • Specific Timelines: Provide specific timelines for funding implementation moving forward, including stakeholder communication and engagement.

Minister Fleming has invited us to meet with him to discuss these issues in mid-February. Our staff will provide updated information and comments, once we have more clarity on the proposed approach and its implications for students.

We appreciate the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Minister and other Education partners on proposed reforms and look forward to continuing this important work.