On June 19th, the Ministry of Education released funding details for the 2020/2021 school year. While there was a small increase in funding for mental health supports, and a small increase for technology, no specific fu
nding has been announced to cover the increased costs that boards will incur to support school re-openings during COVID.
No funding announced to cover costs to support safe school re-openings
People for Education compared education funding for the 2020/21 school year to funding in 2018/19. This comparison paints a clearer picture because last year’s education funding was an anomaly.
While the 2020/21 funding includes approximately $56.8 million in “unallocated funds”, there does not appear to be any contingency funding for increased costs in a number of areas, including:
Additional staff to comply with new health and safety standards for cleaning schools;
More busing to support physical distancing requirements on buses and potentially staggered start times;
Additional support staff for students struggling with learning loss;
Increased numbers of teachers to support 15 student “bubbles” in elementary school and “quadmestering” in high school; or
Personal protective equipment (PPE).
Boards receive half funding for students returning for extra year of high school
The funding details also flag that school boards may only receive half the per pupil amount for students who completed secondary school online this spring during the pandemic and who wish to come back for another year either to improve their marks or obtain more than the 34 required credits.