Education officials want to change funding formula

HALIFAX: Officials in the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) have started the process to redesign the formula to fund public education.

Education minister Zach Churchill confirmed the news during a media scrum at Province House in Halifax two weeks ago.

Heather Fairbairn, media relations advisor with the DEECD, explained that the current Hogg Formula was developed to support programming during a time of declining enrolment.

“Circumstances are changing,” Fairbairn explained. “Enrolment is not only showing signs of stabilizing, some areas are seeing increases.”

Fairbairn said the department is in the initial planning stages but officials hope to introduce this new approach in the next fiscal year and implement the new formula for the 2019/2020 school year.

“We know, as well, from Dr. Glaze’s report and the Commission on Inclusive Education’s recommendations, that we need to have a funding approach that provides the flexibility to support the programming needs of students, while also considering regional enrolment,” Fairbairn noted.

“Our priority is ensuring that the programming needs of all students are being met. We will be happy to share more as our work progresses.”

The Hogg Formula was heavily criticized in the past, particularly from members of the former Strait regional school board, who questioned a formula based solely on student enrolment, without considering other factors.

“Our priority in developing a new approach is ensuring that the programming needs of all students are being met,” Fairbairn added.