January 17, 2012 by realrenewal
Earmarked funding for community schools will no longer be provided under the province’s new education funding model. Instead, community school funds will be folded into the general envelope of ‘supports for learning,’ and distributed to school divisions to spend as they choose, said Deputy Minister Cheryl Senecal at a meeting of the Saskatchewan Community Schools Association (SCSA) on Tuesday.In the past, designated community schools – recognized as schools serving disadvantaged populations – received earmarked provincial funds for things like nutrition programs and community coordinators. The schools’ School Community Councils also received extra funds, to ease pressure on parents to fundraise for classroom supplies and student activities.
In 2008-2009, specific directions to school boards on how to spend the money were removed, although the budget item and school designations remained in place. Now community schools will be removed altogether as a line item, and schools serving high percentages of at-risk students will no longer receive special consideration from the province. Senecal said overall spending level will not be reduced, it will just be spent in other ways.
The move is being spun by the Ministry as equitable education for all students, and increased autonomy for local school boards. As one Facebook observer put it: “Interesting how the Ministry wants to control some decision-making, such as school start times, but not others.” The change will be reflected in this spring’s 2012-2013 provincial budget, Senecal said. It follows the abolition of the First Nations, Métis and Community Education Branch, and the decision to increase funding for private religious schools.