BC class sizes shrinking
Okanagan Edge Staff - Aug 26, 2019 - BC Biz

Photo: Contributed

School will start for most students across B.C. next week, and there’s a good chance they will continue to have smaller classes than in the past.

The provincial government released a statistical snapshot of B.C.’s education system on Monday, and it says it has reduced class sizes since the 2015-16 school year. According to the NDP, the average kindergarten and Grades 1 to 3 class sizes are down nine per cent over the last four years. Grades 4 to 7 have experienced an eight per cent decrease, while Grades 8 to 12 are down six per cent.

The average class size in B.C. last year was 22.1 for Grades 8 to 12, 23.9 for Grades 4 to 7, 19.9 for Grades 1 to 3 and 18 for kindergarten. Officials are predicting an increase of 3,155 public school students for the 2019-20 year for a total of 545,805.

John Horgan’s government also touted its education spending, indicating it is forking over $6.6 billion for students between kindergarten and Grade 12 over the next 10 months. It also announced it will increase funding in all of the province’s 60 school districts for the first time since 2006.

Not only are average class sizes getting smaller, but the province has hired an additional 1,000 education assistants in the past two years, representing a 37 per cent increase.

The government will spend a record $2.7 billion on school capital projects over the next three years, and it has also created an ongoing $5-million annual playground equipment fund for school districts to buy new or replacement playground equipment. This will reduce parents’ need to fundraise for school playgrounds.

Since the Playground Equipment Program started last year, there are new playgrounds at 101 B.C. schools. The program will fund 50 new playgrounds in 34 school districts this year.

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