School Fee Surveys -Province Wide

Find your district and complete your parent survey on school fees. If your district is not here contact your local District Parent Advisory Council or school Parent Advisory Council to find out what is happening. This is only a short list of the districts in BC where parents have taken the lead on finding a resolution to the school fees issue. The information listed below can be found on publicly available web sites hosted by school boards, schools, DPACs and PACs. For those interested simply run a google search using PAC school fees survey to replicate what I have done to find the following information.

Please make sure to only fill out your own district survey. These surveys are for parents only. Other community members and stakeholders are asked to respect this request.

International students = revenue source

A new research report, “BC international student revenue and FTE enrolment, 2001-02 to 2005-06,” ( ) highlights the significance of international students as a source of revenue for BC school districts. The report includes district-by-district tables of revenue and enrolment, and charts that illustrate growth over the last five years.

Here are a few points gained from the figures:

Revenue from international students (also known as non-resident or offshore students) studying in BC schools rose to $109 million in 2005-06, an increase of almost $10 million over the previous year. This continues a trend, and reflects a doubling of revenue since the 2001-02 school year.

International student enrolment also nearly doubled over the same period, growing from 4,083 full-time equivalent students in 2001-02 to 7,853 FTE students in 2005-06.

While overall revenue increased, sixteen districts had less fee revenue in 2005-06 than in the previous year. The Vancouver school district had the greatest drop in revenue, with a reduction of $570,000.

The districts with the largest revenue from international students were:
Coquitlam ($15.1 million)
Vancouver ($11.3 million)
Surrey ($10.7 million)
West Vancouver ($8.9 million)
North Vancouver ($6.9 million)

The district with the highest international-student-fee revenue relative to “regular” enrolment was West Vancouver.

Eight districts and the Francophone Education Authority had no revenue from international students.

Four districts increased their revenue by more than $1 million between 2005-06 and the previous year: Surrey, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, West Vancouver and Burnaby.

While the number of international students, and revenue generated, both continued to grow over the last year, the rate has slowed compared to previous years.

This item is from the BCTF’s web site in a list archive, at

School Fees

The BC Superintendents Association has written a letter, January 17th, requesting the Ministry of Education take decisive action to end the uncertainty. Full text of the letter is available here.

The BC Trustees Association has written a letter, January 19th, requesting the Ministry of Education address the needs of school boards in light of the school fee court decision of last fall. In their letter they propose some changes to deal with the situation. Full text of letter can be downloaded here.

UBC to Cut Millions from Budget

UBC President Stephen Toope met with UBC’s Department Heads and Directors for an update on the ongoing budget deficit story. The ongoing deficit is now $33M-$36M. To deal with this serious problem, that amounts to a 5% overall cut in spending, a set of directed cuts have been identified to reduce the deficit by $16M next fiscal year. In addition a $20M across-the-board one time cut in spending is planned to deal with the remainder.

What does this mean in real terms? It’s hard to say at this point. Various cuts have been rumored from cutting maintenance and upkeep on new buildings (over a million saved), to not allowing students to use VISA credit cards to pay their tuition (apparently a 2.5 million dollar saving) , to cutting the tuition waiver program for PhD students (another 2 million dollars saved). While plans and options are circulating amongst UBC’s management circles no explicit public announcements have been made as to what will actually be cut.

This is the second year in a row that UBC management has forced cuts onto the core teaching and research functions of the university. Rumors abound that the underlying cause for UBC’s budget problems are in fact the result of the massive housing and institutional building boom that is occurring on campus.

Pete McMartin broke the story that faculty, staff and students have been living with for some time last Tuesday in the Vancouver Sun.

On-Line Video Service notice

Update: streamed videos are now back online and working properly. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Please note that we are currently experiencing technical problems with our streamed video content. We are working on the problem and anticipate having things back to normal by the end of this week.

Thanks for your patience,

Charles Menzies

School Fees Survey -Vancouver DPAC Info

TO: All elementary and secondary PAC chairs and their parent communities

FROM: Vancouver DPAC executive.

DATE: Monday, January 22.

Your Vancouver DPAC executive met with executive reps from ten lower mainland districts during winter break to share information and discuss concerns. At that meeting, we learned of a school fees survey developed by Victoria DPAC in concert with six other DPACs. Vancouver DPAC agreed to make the survey available to Vancouver parents. Since then, a number of other DPACs representing @ 50% of the B.C. student population have joined in.

We really need to know your opinions so we can accurately represent them to Minister of Education Shirley Bond and the provincial parent group British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

Information meeting re-scheduled to January 31st

The city-wide meeting to provide information/answer questions about the recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling on school fees and its implications for Vancouver schools and programs, postponed earlier this month due to inclement weather, has been re-scheduled:

Wednesday, January 31st
7:00 -9:00 p.m.
John Oliver secondary cafeteria, 41st and Fraser

Parents, principals and Vancouver Teachers’ Federation reps are invited (and encouraged!) to attend.

Parent survey so we can represent your opinions to the Ministry of and BCCPAC

While the January 31st meeting (see above) is for all stakeholders, this survey is for parents only.

The survey is being conducted over the internet. To participate simply type the following link into your address bar:

This survey is for all Vancouver parents. Please share this information as widely as possible with your parent community.

As of mid-day January 21st, 579 Vancouver parents had completed the survey. The greater the number of parents that participates, the more accurately DPAC can represent your views.

If you do not have internet access and would like a paper copy of the survey, please contact the DPAC coordinator Rosemary Wakefield at 604-261-1250 and she will fax a copy to your school. Anyone with questions about the survey can phone Rosemary or email her at

Deadline for completion of the survey is January 31st. Members of your DPAC executive will then compile the results prior to a February 4th meeting with DPAC representatives from all participating districts and BCCPAC executive members to prepare a joint presentation to Minister of Education Shirley Bond. We will share district and provincial results with Vancouver PACs.

Please encourage your parent community to complete the survey and to attend the January 31st information meeting. We need to hear your voices.

For background on the school fees issues click here.

School Fees Insanity

One of the first salvos in the school fee wars was fired across the bow of creative education last Friday in the Comox valley. As reported in the Comox Valley Record international educational trips violate the school act.

Comoz Valley superintendent, Jordan Tinney, cited legal advice as he gave his recommendation. One is left puzzled and confused as to how a trip, any trip, could be seen as a violation of the school act. I wonder if basketball and other sporting trips are next to be banned?

It’s too bad that the government didn’t act in a leadership role immediately upon the decision last September. Other things, however, were more important and the issue has festered until strange and seemingly ill formed decisions are now being made.

Update: Students demonstrated their concern by staging a sit-in at the Comox Valley School Board offices earlier this month following a school board decision to canceled a trip to Europe because of the school fee issue. Read article here. Story published in the Comox Valley Echo.

According the the Comox Valley Reader:

The answer is no, when it comes to School District 71 approving international trips for area schools. On Tuesday, the school board held a special meeting with students, parents, and teachers of Mark R. Isfeld Secondary about a proposed trip to Europe during spring break 2008. Superintendent Dr. Jordan Tinney started the meeting saying that approving such trips would contravene the Sept. 26, B.C. Supreme Court decision that disallows the practice of charging fees for educational programs. “Our legal opinion states not to support this trip for reasons of liability as well as it is not in line with the recent Supreme Court decision,” Tinney said in his recommendation to the board. [By Beth Scott, Record Staff, Jan 12 2007

For those interested in expressing their concerns directly to the school board chair, Ms Janice Proudfoot can be contacted at:
Phone: 250 338-8294
Fax: 250 338-4961

Teaching: The Movies v. The Real World

The Following commentary on tenth grade teacher, Tom Moore’s, movie review is quoted from Where the Blog has No Name.

“Tom Moore is a tenth grade history teacher in the Bronx and his op-ed in today’s New York Times deconstructs the Hollywood image of teacher as hero/martyr

In analyzing the recent film “Freedom Writers,” Moore argues that the “dangerous message such films promote is that what schools really need are heroes. This is the Myth of the Great Teacher. Films like “Freedom Writers” portray teachers more as missionaries than professionals, eager to give up their lives and comfort for the benefit of others, without need of compensation.”

While there’s plenty of room for more love and idealism in the classroom, martrydom is not the answer to the problems teachers and students face in schools. Moore says he doesn’t expect to be thought of as a hero for doing his job. What he wants is to be respected, supported, trusted and paid.

Moore says that “every day teachers are blamed for what the system they’re just a part of doesn’t provide: safe, adequately staffed schools with the highest expectations for all students.”

He’s right, of course, but here he seriously downplays the responsibilities that teachers share as part of the system.

It’s true that “one maverick teacher, no matter how idealistic, perky or self-sacrificing” will not transform the system, collective action among teachers choosing to work in the interest of students (as opposed to the corporations and the state) could turn the system upside down.”

Click here to read Tom Moore’s article in full.