Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Budget: +4.5% for Ministry of Education

Having perused the full budget documents, the details (such as they are available in a budget) are always found in the nether regions of the full budget papers. Specifically, the pages I always enjoy perusing are the independent sections dealing with each subject matter such as education (duh), municipalities and any new revenue sources. Then I always take a look at the budget charts that have the actual detail-- in particular the overall budget lines for each ministry. I've extracted the pages and put them on GoogleDocs, however they're also helpfully here, here and here.
So what do they show for the Ministry of Education? Let's keep in mind these figures include all grants for student needs and ministry spending on things such as the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat and related agencies such as the Education Quality and Accountability Office.
The actual numbers for 2008-09 are $20.471 billion and in 2009-10 $21.177 billion. That's a 3.4% increase for the years before implementation of the full-day kindergarten program.
The expected number for 2010-11 is $22.2086 billion -- a 4.8% increase in the first year of FDK implementation.
The budget figure for 2011-12 is $23.2203 billion -- a 4.5% increase.
That may look like a lot of money, and it is. However, you need to subtract 3% of that increase right away as all wages across the sector are rising by that amount for 2011-12 (even for the public elementary teachers whose provincial union botched the first two years' wage increases). Add to that a smaller number of schools coming into FDK this fall, but it's another chunk of money. That leaves very little behind for operational needs next year. The grants for student needs are being released at the end of the week, so some more detail should be forthcoming, but I completely expect several school boards will be net-zero increases once you take wage increases into account.
Capital (the third page on GoogleDocs or here) is separate and shows an increase from 2010-11 projected of $1.822 billion to a 2011-12 budget of $2.121 billion -- a 16% increase. So the overall increase when the GSNs are released will be padded by this capital figure.
My one regret is I'm going on hiatus towards the end of the week as my transition from Massey College to a working reality means I'll be away for the grants and all that follows.