To the Editor,
Much has been made lately of the ‘Learning Improvement Fund’ the government has promised to help ensure adequate supports are provided to our students with special needs.
A major criticism of this program is that in order to qualify you have to have among the most difficult learning environments in the province and that this system will pit needy classrooms against one another.
What many seem to fail to grasp is that this is eerily similar to the current system already in place in our own school district.
We are forced to meet with families and let them know that their child, who is coming into our school system with reports citing the need for one-on-one support, will only qualify in our district, based on our funding model, for 7.3 hours of support a week.
We assure them that we will apply for supplemental funds, and hope to qualify.
As we attempt to reassure these families we are fully cognizant of the fact that we will be competing for these hours with the other very needy, most vulnerable students in our district.
We know that it is a finite fund that we are drawing from and that each school will not necessarily receive all of the supplemental funds required, especially if they are unfortunate enough to have a higher percentage of needs than other schools.
In fact, what is likely to happen, is that after some of the supplemental fund requests are granted, schools will then be denied based on fairness to other schools.
Once you are denied, you are then forced to compete within your own school walls for the classroom that is the most needy and what is more likely these days, which students pose the greatest safety risk.
Our struggles already show why the ‘Learning Improvement Fund’ will not meet the needs of the children of British Columbia.