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AA. Educational Finance

1. General

a) Every Canadian has a right to quality education and is, therefore, entitled to participate in a series of educational experiences which enable them to develop their potential.

b) Funds allocated to education are an investment in human resources.

c) Education finance is concerned with the intelligent, equitable, and efficient utilization of human and economic resources of a country to provide quality education.

d) There should be a federal office of education to coordinate the activities of the federal government in education.

e) A basic minimum educational program should be established throughout the province regardless of geography, demographic, or climatic factors. Local school boards shall have the right within the guidelines of a provincial education plan and provincial financial structure, to determine the type of programs to be offered within their communities.

f) Government should be responsible for one hundred percent financing of all capital and operational expenditure based on the Newfoundland and Labrador Government educational policy.

2. Revenue Sources

a) Stability of revenue is required to finance education.

b) Federal/provincial fiscal arrangements must be maintained at a level sufficient to ensure that the province can meet constitutional responsibilities with regard to education.

c) Education is best supported on the broadest possible tax base and educational monies should be raised primarily through progressive rather than through regressive taxation.

d) Within the province, the funding of education at the primary, elementary, and secondary levels should be separate from the funding of other levels of education and must be primarily the responsibility of the provincial government. The provincial system for financing education should allow for financial input at the local level.

3. Expenditure Allocation

a) Allocation should be made to school boards on the basis of program-based budgets. Budgets should attempt to identify accurately costs incurred. There should be no global-based budgeting. All monies budgeted by the school board are to be spent in the areas for which they were earmarked.

b) The level of financial support for education must be sufficient to permit the realization of human and economic objectives and to make adequate provision for all individual and group needs of children within each and every school district.

c) Operational audits must be conducted to ensure efficient and effective use of economic resources disbursed to school boards.

d) Government expenditure in education at the primary, elementary, and secondary levels should be budgeted for and reported upon separately from other areas of education. [Mar/3-4&6/83]

4. Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)

In the event that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador alters its present commitment to the funding arrangement of education, the following principles should be applied:

a) Ethical Principles

  1. Control
    Schools must remain in the public domain.
    Public-private partnership schools must be subject to the public school policies of school boards and the Department of Education and all acts of the Legislature that are pertinent.
    Administration of the school and the delivery of educational services must be the responsibility of duly certified teachers as defined in the Schools Act.
    Public-private partnership schools must respect all duly negotiated collective agreements and the legislation on which the agreements are based.
    The legitimate interest of the private partner should be limited to construction and/or maintenance of the facility.
    As public funds are used to pay the lease, all use of school space and facilities should be solely under the jurisdiction of the school board and the educational administration of the school.
    Partnerships (lease agreements) must respect the collegial atmosphere of the school and this should be reflected in lease agreements.
  2. Transparency of Process
    The public has a right to:
    – a fair and transparent process that instills confidence and protects the integrity of public education which would include public participation in decisions affecting site, design and leases;
    – full public disclosure of the arrangements around the P3 model;
    – a clear definition of roles and responsibilities of all partners;
    – a definition and assignment of risk including long term guarantees such as performance bonds.
    Public needs, as determined by the site selection committee, must be respected in site selection.
    Social and ethical behaviour must be an important consideration when a school, a school board and/or the Department of Education, choose a sponsor, partner or consortium.
    Leases must be signed before construction begins.
  3. Equity
    The province, through consultation with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association and the public, must develop standards for adequate and equitable construction, renovations, upgrading and the provision of resources for all schools. An action plan to implement the standards must be developed and communicated to the public.

b) Operational Principles

  1. The safety, security, health, well-being and privacy of staff and students must be priorities in all decisions relating to P3 schools.
  2. Leases must contain guarantees of standards of construction, levels of services, quality of furnishings and equipment, and sustainability throughout the duration of the leases.
  3. Due penalties must be imposed if the conditions described in the leases are not met.

c) Educational Principles

  1. Expertise
    Public-private partnerships must not place limitations on the academic freedom of the school community.
    Public-private partners and agreements must respect the right of professional educators to make all educational decisions.
    Public-private partners and agreements must recognize that professional educators are in the best position to make decisions concerning school resources, program methodologies and other pedagogical issues.
  2. Access to Students
    The educational environment of students must be protected. Access to students must be dependent upon a positive evaluation by educators in relation to educational objectives.
    • Advertising
    – Schools should be free of commercial enterprise, including such things as advertising, franchising and other forms of business for profit.
    – Schools should generally be advertisement-free zones. Commercial enterprise in schools shall be consistent with educational values.
    – Commercial enterprise must not exploit students as a captive audience.
    – Commercial enterprise must not infringe on the individual’s freedom of choice, freedom of expression or the academic freedom of the school community.
    • Curriculum Materials
    – The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association supports the position of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, which states: “…materials intended for classroom use should be subjected to rigorous evaluation. Particular attention should be paid to accuracy and completeness, objectivity, commercialism, and bias and stereotyping.”
    – The names of sponsors of curricular supplements shall be stated clearly on all packaging and teacher-directed materials.
    – Skills should be enhanced among school system officials, administrators, teachers, parents and students to assist them in a critical analysis of curricular materials.
    • Sponsorship
    – Sponsorship agreements shall be consistent with educational values. Acknowledgment should be made only in appropriate ways.
    – The Department of Education and school boards, in cooperation with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, shall develop policies providing guidance for sponsorships and their acknowledgments.
  3. Teacher Workload
    The impact on teacher workload within P3 schools is an issue that shall be jointly addressed by the Department of Education, the school boards and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association.
  4. Discipline
    Discipline and codes of conduct in P3 schools shall be in accordance with school and school board policies. [Feb/17-18/00] [JC Feb/18-19/00] [2001 BGM] 

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