Unit 5: Education Funding
This unit is designed to enable SEAC members to gain:
- an overall understanding of educational funding philosophy;
- an understanding of three basic components of educational funding (the Foundation Grant, Special Purpose Grants, and Pupil Accommodation Grant);
- an understanding of the specific funding for special education programs and services;
- an awareness that school boards are accountable for ensuring that the funding allocated for special education is spent on special education programs and services.
Principles of the Current Funding System
Funding allocated to school boards under the current funding system by the Ministry of Education is intended to:
- provide a fair allocation for all students, wherever they live in Ontario;
- provide funding to maintain schools and to build new schools where they are needed;
- allow boards significant flexibility to decide how funds will be allocated to programs and support services and how funds are allocated to their schools;
- restrict ways in which boards spend money in some specific areas (e.g., to protect funding for capital expenditures and for special education, and to limit spending on board administration);
- promote accountability for the use of funding allocated by ensuring that school boards report on their expenditures in a consistent manner.
Components of Education Funding
There are three basic components of education funding:
The Pupil Foundation Grant is allocated on the basis of a school board's total enrollment that supports the elements of a classroom education that are required by, and generally common to, all students. The School Foundation Grant supports the costs of in-school administration and leadership (salaries and benefits for principals, vice-principals and office support staff) as well as supplies for school administration purposes.
Special purpose grants allocate additional funding based on specific costs or needs that affect some boards and some students more than others. The Special Education Grant is a Special Purpose Grant.
The Pupil Accommodation Grant allocates funding for the operation and maintenance of school buildings and the construction of new schools or additions.
Funding for Special Education
The Special Education Grant (SEG) funding is incremental to the Foundation Grant and other special purpose grants. The Special Education Grant provides additional funding for students who need special education programs, services and equipment. The Special Education Grant is enveloped which means this funding can only be used for those students who require special education programs, services or equipment.
The Special Education Grant includes five components - the Special Education Per-Pupil Amount, the High Needs Amount, the Special Equipment Amount, the Special Incidence Portion and the Facilities Amount.
The Special Education Per Pupil Amount (SEPPA) recognizes the cost of providing additional assistance to the majority of students with special education needs. SEPPA is allocated to boards on the basis of total enrolment.
The SEPPA amounts for 2009–10 are:
- $755.47 per JK to Grade 3 student
- $581.57 per Grade 4 to 8 student
- $383.80 per Grade 9 to 12 student
The High Needs Amount addresses the cost of providing the intensive staff support required by a small number of students with high special education needs. The 2009–10 HNA allocation will provide school boards with funding stability, and it will introduce a high needs Measure of Variability (MOV) amount that begins to revise school boards' high needs variability profiles to better reflect the variability of high needs students and boards’ ability to respond to these needs.
The Special Equipment Amount (SEA) covers the additional cost in excess of $800 of an individual student's equipment needs in the year the equipment was purchased. School boards are expected to cover the first $800. Boards may also claim 80 percent of the average cost of salaries and benefits for board paid technicians assigned for installation and maintenance, as well as staff training and warranties related to a student's special education related equipment.
Eligibility criteria for SEA are outlined in the Special Education Funding Guidelines: Special Equipment Amount (SEA), 2009-10 (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/funding/0910/SEAgide09.pdf).
The Special Incidence Portion (SIP) provides funding to support pupils who require more than two full-time staff to address the health and safety needs of both the students who have extraordinarily high needs related to their disabilities and/or exceptionalities and/or of others at school.
Eligibility criteria for SIP are outlined in the Special Education Funding Guidelines: Special Incidence Portion (SIP), 2009-10 (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/funding/0910/SIPguide09.pdf).
Facilities Amount provides funding for educational programs for school-aged children/youth in Government-approved care and/or treatment, custody and correctional facilities. These programs are provided pursuant to agreements between the school boards and the facilities, which include hospitals, children's mental health centres, psychiatric institutions, detention and correctional facilities, community group homes, and other social services agencies. Funding for the facilities is provided by other ministries e.g. MCYS and some private funding.
In addition to the Foundation Grants and the Special Education Grant, other special purpose grants may assist the school board to meet needs of some exceptional students. Please visit the Education Funding page for more detailed information.