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The Framework for Enhancing Student Learning Policy and accompanying Enhancing Student Learning Reporting Order came into effect September 1, 2020.

Summary of New K-12 Public Education Financial Planning and Reporting Policy and Accumulated Operating Surplus Policy (May 2021)


The Independent Panel of the K-12 Provincial Education Funding Model Review made 22 recommendations to improve accountability, financial management and equity in the K-12 education sector. Government accepted the recommendations and launched Phase 1 of the implementation plan in February 2020. The two new financial management policies are part of the Phase 1 actions. Ministry of Education staff worked closely with the Financial Management Committee, (6 representatives from the BC Association of School Business Officials and one from the First Nations Education Steering Committee) to co-develop and finalize both policies. Ministry staff have also consulted with the BC School Trustees Association, BC School Superintendents Association and Métis Nation BC to finalize the policies.

What Do the New Policies Mean for School Boards?

  • Most boards are already doing what the policies require so there are no significant changes for them. The policies present an opportunity to revisit existing policies, procedures and reporting to strengthen board processes in financial management.
  • There will be a phased, supported implementation of both policies with no change to reporting for 2020/21 or planning for 2021/22. The Ministry will provide direction on what needs to be done, and when, including guidelines and education for district staff and trustees on what the changes mean.

The K-12 Public Education Financial Planning and Reporting Policy

The K-12 Public Education Financial Planning and Reporting Policy directs boards to develop multi-year financial plans that identify how funding and resources will support board strategic plans, operational needs of school districts and improved educational outcomes for students. The Ministry will provide guidance and resources, as needed, to help boards build and maintain multi-year financial plans.

To enable greater transparency, boards must develop, publish and maintain a local board policy that describes how they will engage with and report out to education partner and stakeholder groups, including local First Nations and Metis Nation BC, on their multi-year financial plans.

The Ministry has a robust annual school district financial reporting framework the boards use to meet their reporting requirements as specified in the School Act and to align with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. Boards will use this existing financial reporting framework to annually report on boards’ progress towards meeting board objectives as outlined in their multi-year financial plans (i.e., enhanced student educational outcomes and other operational needs of the school board).

The K-12 Public Education Accumulated Operating Surplus Policy

The K-12 Public Education Accumulated Operating Surplus Policy ensures consistency, transparency and accountability for the use and reporting of operating funding that is not used in the year in which it was provided. It acknowledges that it is appropriate for boards to maintain an operating surplus to manage financial risk and the accumulation and holding of appropriate operating surpluses by school districts is a component of sound financial and strategic planning.

The policy outlines the process for the accumulation, spending and reporting of operating surplus funds and the boards’ engagement with their local community and education-partner groups, including local First Nations and Métis Nation BC so they are aware of the process. It requires boards to monitor and report on their management of operating surplus and provides information and guidelines to boards around operating surplus categories.

The policy ensures that when boards restrict surplus funds it is done for specific purposes with identified timelines. It also creates a mechanism for boards, if they wish, to set aside funding for approved capital projects after other priorities have been addressed.

The Enhancing Student Learning Policy and Ministerial Order will hold boards of education more accountable and ensure student outcomes are the focus of their strategic and operational plans. We encourage parents/guardians to read both documents. 

Improve educational outcomes for all students
Boards of education will set, create and maintain a strategic plan, annually report on student outcomes and put systems in place to continuously improve the educational outcomes for all students and improve equity for Indigenous students, children and youth in care, and students with disabilities or diverse abilities.

Focus on The Educated Citizen
The preamble to the School Act and the Statement of Education Policy Order (Mandate for the School System) states, the purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable all learners to become literate, to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable economy. To achieve this purpose, we have a collective mandate to develop the Educated Citizen defined as the intellectual, human and social and career development of every student.

Enable through capacity building, strategic planning, coordinated implementation and reporting
In order to ensure a system-wide focus on continuously improving educational outcomes for all students, this policy specifies the responsibilities for the Ministry and boards of education with respect to strategic planning and reporting of educational outcomes. The policy also identifies ways that the Ministry, boards, Indigenous peoples and other education partners can contribute to improving educational outcomes in the K-12 education system.

This 2020-21 school year, school districts are implementing the policy and order and will provide a report on educational outcomes and the school district strategic plan to the Minister by September 30, 2021. The ministry will work with Boards of Education and school district leadership to build capacity by offering a range of services including:
• A virtual and high-caliber speaker series: Framework in Action
• Panel discussions with sector mentors and educational specialists
• Leadership learning groups for strategic planning and reporting this year

The Implementation Guide for the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning was developed to support Boards of Education to fulfil the responsibilities as outlined in the Policy and Order. The planning and reporting processes that school districts use to improve educational outcomes are integral to public assurance and accountability. The Guide is intended to share research-informed strategies and promising practices collected from the sector to build capacity. As part of a continuous improvement review cycle, the Ministry will update this document annually to include adapted strategies collected from the sector. In April 2021 the BCCPAC Board provided input and feedback on the Implementation Guide on behalf of members.

The Implementation Guide provides the policy requirements and guidelines for:

  • Development of district strategic plans
  • Alignment of district annual operational plans
  • Creation of the Enhancing Student Learning Report 
This policy and order come as a result of many discussion with the Ministry of Education and the education partners. BCCPAC continues to be an active participant throughout.