Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Something stinks!

I read in the paper about the child with spina bifida being tossed out of Brunskill School over a funding issue. In the end the principal took the hit. I was stunned to learn that a principal had that kind of power - things must have changed a lot over the last few years. Decisions as to whether students are permanently removed from schools is usually approved through central administration. Funding and staffing to schools is allocated by central office. If a student moves from one division to another, then it is up to administration to deal with the other division, not the parent. And if this is only a funding issue, why was the able-bodied sibling allowed to stay? What a tragic experience for this family.

Students are eligible for attendance at publicly funded schools until the age of 22 and divisions are given funding for that student for the full school year. I am reminded that a few years ago a friend, whose son is physically disabled, turned 22 in early February. She was told that she had to remove him from school by the end of that month because he had hit the magic age of 22. She was devastated and didn't know what she could do for him given the short time line. I told her to ask the administration whether they would be reimbursing the government a pro rata share of the funding they received and enquire as to whether all able-bodied students were also being removed mid-semester due to the coming of age. The short story is he was allowed to stay until the end of the school year. Sadly, she told me, a few of his fellow students had already been removed earlier in the year for this reason.

Unless the new funding formula has dramatically changed operating budgets, divisions get funding for each student enrolled as of September 30. If they drop out or move on or after October 1 the division still keeps the funding. It would be a waste of tax dollars to enroll any student for a semester if in fact they we not going to be allowed to complete their courses.

If the measure of a society is how we treat our most vulnerable, this would be the saddest comment we can make about ourselves. Cash for kids.


  1. With Trustees like Dan Danielson in power is it any wonder like this happens. Talk about incompetence.

    Yet another reason why we need to be choosing Trustees carefully in municipal elections. Shame on the board.

  2. The funding formula changed when divisions' taxing authority was taken away (a legislative change you lauded in a previous post). The September student count is no more.

    Peculiar that you had given your grand approval to legislative changes without actually looking at and understanding the legislation and its repercussions for education funding.

    Methinks the mistress needs to inform herself.

  3. I couldn't give a crap about who is funding this child. I think the Mistress was pointing to the unacceptable position the division took regarding special needs students. My position would be to make it clean and simple treat everyone the same. As soon as the parents or legal guardian moves out of the city the student becomes ineligible for a free ride in another school division (special needs or not) I know of many parents that are happy to pay less property tax in Warman and other outlining areas but drive their kids to Saskatoon where they work. This causes me the ratepayer in Saskatoon to cough up more money which should not be happening. It is not only schools but these people also use many other civic facilities and benefit from my taxes at no extra cost to them. Maybe it is time that residents of Saskatoon stand up for themselves and demand additional funding from people living around the city. Maybe they need to prove their residency before getting a library card or paying the same rate as I do to go to the field house/swimming pools and any other civic centers.

    As for this particular person. I see they are aboriginal, are they treaty? If so the Federal Government is responsible for paying for their education. But somehow I doubt that would ever happen. Amazing we can have gas stations on urban reserves but we don't have schools for them to attend while in the city.

    I guess the Mistress is right it is all about the money.

  4. How did a principal bouncing a physically challenged student out of a school become a government funding issue? Clearly from the article the Saskatoon Public Division received funding for this student. Clearly the other sibling was not required to leave. As for crossover students in divisions, that battle has gone on for years. If divisions are equally funded per capita it probably should matter where you live - the funding will be the same.

    I am supportive of the provincial government taking over funding and removing access to the tax base from boards. As this is the first year of the formula I expect there will be tweaking necessary when the problems are identified. However, the policy for out-of-division students had better be applied equally to all students whether mainstream or challenged.

  5. Interesting mistress. You, who have been quoted and misquoted by the local paper should know as well as everyone to not believe everything you read. This paper and its band of cub reporters are certainly not known as presenting unbiased balanced reporting. In fact in recent times when I look at the headlines it reminds me more of a tabloid. Seems to me after reading the article I would guess, from reading between the lines, that there was a miscommunication and it was corrected. The student never was asked to or did leave the school. I do think that parents, in particular well educated articulate parents(google the mom), would know and care enough to investigate the implications on their students schooling when moving from one city to another.

    Good news is that in the end it seems like the best interest of the student was the deciding factor and that we should all be thankful for.


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