VCPAC News

 


VCPAC has long grappled with the issue of meeting our children’s learning needs. The current system provides basic funding on a per student basis. It also provides additional funding under headings such as special needs, aboriginal education, and the newly minted “Education Fund”, a product of the recently concluded collective agreement. These types of funding components have consistently been unable to adequately meet the needs of all students. Sometimes the support provided is insufficient. Sometimes a student has not been assessed to receive additional support. Sometimes a student doesn’t quite qualify for additional support. Sometimes the student just needs some classroom modifications to succeed. Sometimes classroom staff need additional support. Sometimes the dynamics of a given combination of students and staff creates some unique needs. VCPAC believes that to meet the needs of all students, the resource requirements of each classroom community must be identified and provided. Additional funding to meet these identified needs must be available and must be protected from other cost pressures.

 

Some History


In January, 2012, VCPAC articulated this concept in a document entitled, “Classroom Support Fund” (proposal attached). It was presented to the Minister of Education and received a favourable response. The next couple of years included two changes in education ministers and continued difficulties between the Government and the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). There was no opportunity to move the concept forward during that time. In 2014, VCPAC drafted a resolution for the AGM of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) (VCPAC resolution attached) to determine whether or not the concept had provincial level parent support. On May 31, 2014, the resolution was approved with a strong majority and BCCPAC is now actively advocating for the fund. On June 16, 2014, VCPAC sent a letter to the Minister of Education and the BCTF advising of its intention to advocate for the Classroom Resources Fund and a number of other items approved at the BCCPAC AGM (letter attached).


Discussions have begun with the Ministry of Education to develop some terms of reference for moving forward (media release attached).


The Concept


The Classroom Resources Fund concept is based on a number of key principles. It is a bottom-up process starting with the teacher’s assessment of resource requirements. VCPAC believes that such a process will benefit greatly from consultation with each student’s parents as well as an opportunity to have discussions with other staff. The fund must be a separate envelope not subject to erosion by other cost pressures in the system. Expenditures must optimize the learning opportunities for the class and could include direct supports for students, changes to classroom environment, enhanced specialist services and in-service for staff.


Development


VCPAC believes that to make such an initiative successful, detailed processes and procedures must be developed collaboratively. The plan is to encourage our education partners to come together and build the model. It is anticipated that these discussions will occur in various districts across the province as well as at the provincial level.


Effects on Current Funding


VCPAC is not recommending that any of the current funding components be terminated or reduced. The Classroom Resources Fund process would identify the real needs of our classrooms and provide the much-needed resources not covered by existing funding envelopes.


Individual Education Plans (IEPs) exist pursuant to the Individual Education Plan Order (Ministerial Order attached). VCPAC is not suggesting that IEPs be terminated. The IEP process brings a range of expertise together to develop plans for students with complex sets of needs. Some of these IEPs trigger additional funding to the district. Students who do not qualify for such intervention, but have needs to be met, would benefit from processes to be developed through the Classroom Resources Fund. VCPAC is also not suggesting that every child needs the structured IEP process to get his or her needs met. For many students, their needs would be identified by the teacher’s classroom analysis.


The new Education Fund has been created to add additional BCTF members to the school system. It would not be affected by the proposed fund.


Other Issues


There were some concerns expressed that this proposal could lead to a voucher system or a move toward charter schools. VCPAC is committed to protecting public education and has no interest in either of these concepts.


Closing


The next phase in the process is to engage all education partners in the development of the Classroom Resources Fund model and to invite your feedback or suggestions.


Please send your comments or recommendations to .


Sincerely,


Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils

 

Additional background information:

 

2014 09 09 Media Release re Talks Begin on Classroom Resource Fund

2014 06 16 Letter to Ministry of Education and British Columbia Teachers' Federation

2012 01 24 VCPAC Proposal for a Classroom Support Fund

VCPAC Resolution to BCCPAC 2014 AGM

Individual Education Plan Order

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