DL funding falls further behind
Funding for British Columbia Distributed Learning programs for the 203-14 school year will fall further behind the provincial funding provided for face-to-face students.
It sometimes seems like the only serious issue in DL in British Columbia is about funding. Questions of quality, completion, online pedagogy and professional development all take a second place to financial issues and audits. This is not likely to change under the current system.The announcement of funding for the 2013-14 school year remains frozen at $5,851 per DL student, which is $1049 less than for a student enrolled in a face-to-face program. That is a slightly larger gap than last year since the f2f amount increased by $116 per student.
Some districts are looking at ways of getting more of their students back on f2f programs to increase the funds coming to the district. For example, a district with 600 students loses more than $600,000, a not insignificant amount given the tight budgets.
At least one district is looking at breaking up their DL school, reassigning teachers to schools where students would take a blended program. If 51% of their courses are in f2f and 49% in DL, the district will get $1049 per student more.Research consistently shows that students in blended programs do better than in online-only programs. However, the restructuring in BC is happening on the basis of funding, not educational value.
Details of funding for 2013-14 are found in the Operating Grants Manual on the Ministry of Education website: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/k12funding/funding/13-14/welcome.htm
Funding details specific to Distributed Learning:
*For each eligible school‐age full‐time equivalent (FTE) student enrolled in Distributed Learning schools and reported in the September enrolment count, 2013/14 is $5,851
*For each eligible school‐age full‐time equivalent (FTE) student enrolled in Distributed Learning in Kindergarten to Grade 9 and reported in the February enrolment count $2,926
*For each eligible school‐age full‐time equivalent (FTE) student enrolled in Distributed Learning in Grades 10 to 12 and reported in the February enrolment count $5,851
*For each eligible school‐age full‐time equivalent (FTE) student enrolled in Distributed
*For each eligible school‐age full‐time equivalent (FTE) student enrolled in Distributed Learning in Grades 10 to 12 and reported in the May enrolment count $5,851
*The estimates of total full-time-equivalent DL students reported over the three counts is anticipated at 10,721 for K-12 and 652 for the non-graduated adult students*The Ministry will not fund summer programs for Distributed Learning. If programs run on a 12-month basis, the funding for the summer period must come from the annual allocation per student.
Regulations for cross enrolled K-9 studentsRegulations for several years have required K-9 students to be enrolled in one school only. That meant that a student would have to take their full program either at a f2f school or at a DL school.
The regulation was based on the difficulty of having a student in an elementary school or junior secondary taking a course from DL while the rest of their program was in a f2f program. For example, if a Grade 4 student took math online, but everything else in the school, what would the student do while the rest of her class was taking math from the classroom teacher.
Bill 36 passed by the BC Legislature allowed for students from K-9 to cross-enroll between f2f and DL. However, regulations were not defined and cross-enrolling has still not possible this year. The Ministry is carrying out a consultation with stakeholder groups (although not the BCTF) on how this change should be carried out.