School District wants proper funding for special needs students

The provincial government recently announced an additional $1 million in funding to boost support for special needs students

The provincial government recently announced an additional $1 million in funding to boost support for special needs students in “specialized independent schools,” and the board of School District 72 says public schools need that support, too.

In a letter sent this week to Education Minister Mike Bernier, signed by board chair Susan Wilson on behalf of the board, the district says it “strongly feel[s] that this financial support should also be offered for students in our public schools as well,” and requests that the $2,000 that has been offered for supporting special needs students in “independent schools” also be made available “for all students that have been designated as having special needs in the public education system.”

The board admits in its letter that it does not have access to details surrounding the current state of funding special needs supports in “independent” schools relative to students in the public system, “but experience and anecdotal evidence as well as the report of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services indicates that the level of funding for special needs children is inadequate.”

The board’s letter also says that additional funding would help to address the “unsatisfactory situation” of so-called “full-time” assistance for special needs students receiving five hours of educational assistance time per day when they are in school for six.

“Additionally,” the letter continues, “in our district, and indeed throughout the province, there is another aspect of student health that is not designated, and therefore not adequately funded. More than ever teachers and schools are experiencing and dealing with the behaviours of students who are suffering from the conditions of anxiety, depression, stress, and suicidal tendencies. There is a virtual epidemic of mental and emotional health concerns for children from elementary to senior secondary ages in schools across the province. This is an important issue, not only because it affects the quality of life of those students who are dealing with these difficulties, but because the link between emotional and mental health and student achievement is widely acknowledged. The complexity of these needs is beyond the professional skills and training of teachers.”

The board goes on to suggest that additional funding is not the only thing that is needed to fix these issues, however.

“Both financial resources and a fresh, considered approach to collaboration between the ministries of Education, Health and Children and Family Development are critical in meeting the needs of students in participating in school and achieving success.

Improved access to trained school counsellors, more integration and availability of professionals from various ministries, and financial support to provide the time and training for a collaborative approach between the ministries is needed to support the work of our teachers and administrators and have a positive impact on our students’ learning outcomes.”

The full letter is available to the public on the district’s website at sd72.bc.ca and will also be linked to this story at campbellrivermirror.com

Just Posted

Howie Meeker Golf Classic helping Special Olympians realize dreams

31st annual event raises money for Campbell River Special Olympics

Mowi says all Campbell River-area farms now certified to ASC standard

ASC represents ‘gold standard in environmental and social certification,’ company says

Strathcona Regional District rejects well out of concern for Oyster River watershed

Board won’t entertain actions that facilitate additional development, threaten the Oyster River,

Man launches petition to bring charter schools to B.C.

The move could see up to 20 charter schools come to the province

Overdose deaths mount on North Island with four fatalities in June

North Vancouver Island now has second-highest fatal overdose rate in B.C.

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Most Read