Formula $

An Outdated Band School Funding Formula


Awareness-building Campaign on First Nations Education
The formula was developed in 1988 and has always ignored significant costs, in addition to not having been revised to take account of new developments in education. The formula has not even been indexed to the cost of living since 1996, whereas Statistics Canada, in its 2003-2004 report, stated that between 1997-1998 and 2003-2004 the per-student cost in Canada had increased by an average of 24%, which is in excess of the rate of inflation.

The formula ignores a number of costs as follows, allocating:

  • $0 for the integration of technology in schools.

  • $0 for school libraries.

  • $0 for vocational training in secondary schools.

  • $0 for extracurricular sports and recreation activities.

  • $0 for implementing provincial education reforms.

  • $0 for providing students with a diversified and stimulating curriculum, such as sports-études, arts-études and international programs.

    There are also certain education costs that are not integrated into the funding formula. Some are funded by AANDC out of budgets other than that set aside for education. These costs include the following:

  • School transportation.

  • Fixed assets.

  • Fringe benefits.

Other factors, however, receive very little consideration. The most striking example is that of the teaching of First Nations languages, for which AANDC allocates an amount of $185 per student. How can such a ridiculous amount ever seriously be expected to revitalize languages that are threatened with extinction in a few years from now? With an amount like this, it is impossible to set up immersion schools, pay a teacher, or even publish a school textbook.

The funding formula is unable to take into account the different operating costs of a school in the 21st Century. The consequences are predictably catastrophic: frequent cuts in other areas, schools that are unable to provide competitive salaries and working conditions, the inability to provide young people with a quality education such as every child in Canada has a right to expect, etc.

All this is a grave injustice, because in refusing First Nations the means to have access to a quality education, the Government of Canada is deliberately closing the door on their future.