Funding Home Education in Alberta

The administration and funding of any government program is usually a complicated process that is difficult to understand.  Things are further complicated when one takes into consideration the difficulty in monitoring the level of expenditures associated with large ministries like education and then confused by an assumption of honesty and a general lack of accountability by recipients of government moneys.  In comparison to regular public education, traditional home education funding is rather straightforward and uncomplicated since both public and private providers are funded the same way and at the same level with no provision for additional grants or special program allocations.  Things not only get complicated but very difficult to monitor when it comes to blended programming, where a combination of parent-directed programming and school-provided programming involves pro-rating both the Home Education Base Rate and Base Instruction Rate, which is further complicated by differing rates for the public and private systems.  In order to keep things as simple as possible, a summary of pertinent issues is provided to enable a basic understanding.  For a more detailed study go to education.alberta.ca.

Funding Education In Alberta

All children in the Province of Alberta between the ages of six and seventeen must be registered for education in a public (separate) or private school.  Funded school boards receive grants for each student registered, although amounts vary with the type of school and student.  Basic funding is provided for each student within the public system with additional funding available for student special needs, along with other cost allowances for early childhood, bussing, capital ventures, etc.  Funded private schools now receive 70% of public funding with little access to special needs funding and no cost allowances.  Home educated students receive 25% of public funding base rates, with no access to special needs funding, whether they are registered with public or private schools, with half of these funds allocated for Parent Resources (see below).

Traditional Home Education Funding

Parents involved in a traditional home education program are completely responsible for providing the planning, resource selection, instructional delivery, assessment, evaluation and records of student progress for the entire program that meets the requirements of the Home Education Regulation.  These parents are provided with one half of the per student home education grant.  Boards offering less than this amount are not following the rules, and boards offering more are doing so for one or more of a few possible reasons.  One reason may be that the board is accessing the basic government home education grant and is willing to work with less money per student, attracting more students to generate more overall income, seeing the extra costs as the price of doing business.  Another reason may simply be the offering of more money to attract parents who, once registered (with the blended provider), are then introduced to blended programming.  Another possible explanation for greater funding could be that the students are being improperly claimed as blended students when in fact they are not.  This would result in greater government funding for the board, some of which is then given to the unknowing parents as an amount greater than would be expected for a traditional home education program.

2018-19 Home Education Parent Resources Allotment is $835.40 per student.

Parents wanting a traditional home education program are encouraged to question the home education provider regarding any amount exceeding this year's per student allotment of $835.40 in order to ascertain why and how the higher amount is being offered and to avoid those that cannot supply a clear and acceptable answer so not to be deceived into inappropriate agreements.

Parent Resources (Instructional Materials)

There are few guidelines with respect to what constitutes appropriate use of the Parent Resources portion of this funding.  Therefore, there exists a fair amount of variation in interpretation, some of which is questionable in light of the fact that the moneys are made available for "instructional materials", best interpreted as educational supplies and services.  There are also no clear directives as to what should be done with funds not expended on behalf of the parents, so most home education and blended providers have a "use it or lose it" policy, reabsorbing unclaimed Parent Resources funds into Program Delivery.  Also, many blended providers reclaim materials purchased with the Parent Resources funds.

Funding of instructional materials is a privilege, but privileges can be and often are abused.  Parents are encouraged to use discretion even when home education/blended education providers do not.

Blended Program Defined

A blended program means an educational program consisting of two distinct parts:
1. A school-provided program where a teacher employed by a school board or an accredited-funded private school is responsible for providing the planning, resource selection, instructional delivery, assessment and evaluation of student progress in selected courses that follow the Alberta Programs of Study; and
2. A Home Education Program that meets the requirements of the Home Education Regulation.

Blended Programming Funding

Parents involved in a blended program agree to do part of the educating of their children, with the school assuming the remaining responsibility.  School boards receive funding on a percentage basis, appropriate for each component.  A blended program made up of 50% parent-directed and 50% school-directed, for instance, would result in the board receiving 50% of the 25% of the regular school basic funding for the parent-directed component, and 50% of the regular school funding for the school-directed component.

The following chart provides a summary of funding for public or private schools offering either a traditional home education or blended program.  Please Note: for simplicity sake, no ADL courses were considered in these calculations.  Information for this chart was obtained from http://education.alberta.ca/admin/funding/manual.aspx

2018-19 Funding Formulas
Code Funding Group Formula Rate
Gpub Base Instruction Funding Rate for Public Schools Base $6561.68
Gpriv Base Instruction Funding Rate for Private Schools 70% of Gpub $4593.18
HEpub Home Education Funding Rate for Public Schools 25% of Gpub $1670.80
HEpriv Home Education Funding Rate for Private Schools 25% of Gpub $1670.80
CRpub Credit Enrollment Unit (CEU) Rate for Public High Schools 1/35 of Gpub $187.48
CRpriv Credit Enrollment Unit (CEU) Rate for Private High Schools 1/35 of Gpriv $131.23
Income For A Traditional Home Education Program Offered by A Public School Board
A home education program offered by a public school will receive per student $1670.80
with the amount mandated for Parent Resources being $835.40
Net total for Program Delivery $835.40
Income For A Traditional Home Education Program Offered by A Private School Board
A home education program offered by a private school will receive per student $1670.80
with the amount mandated for Parent Resources being $835.40
Net total for Program Delivery $835.40
Example of Income for a 50% Blended Program Offered by a Public School Board (Gr. 1-9)
School-provided portion per student (50% Gpub) $3280.84
Parent-provided portion per student (50% HEpub) $835.40
Mandated for Parent Resources (25% of HEpub) $417.70
Net total for Program Delivery $3698.54
Example of Income for a 50% Blended Program Offered by a Private School Board (Gr.1-9)
School-provided portion per student (50% Gpriv) $2296.59
Parent-provided portion per student (50% HEpriv) $835.40
Mandated for Parent Resources (25% HEpriv) $417.70
Net total for Program Delivery $2714.29
Example of Income for a 20% Blended High School Program Offered by a Public School Board
School-provided portion per student (20% Gpub) $1312.34
Parent -provided portion per student (80% HEpub) $1336.64
Mandated for Parent Resources (40% HEpub) $668.32
Net total for Program Delivery $1980.66
Example of Income for a 20% Blended High School Program Offered by a Private School Board
School-provided portion per student (20% Gpriv) $918.64
Parent -provided portion per student (80% HEpriv) $1336.64
Mandated for Parent Resources (40% HEpriv) $668.32
Net total for Program Delivery $1586.96

 

The Bottom Line

A quick study of the chart shows that involvement with blended programming will increase revenues for providers.  Although blended program providers are only obligated to provide 50% of the home education portion of the funding (reduced in blended programs), there are no regulations preventing them from providing more, which they do out of expediency as few potential clients would be attracted to a program involving less freedom for less money.  Parents looking for a home education board would be well advised to look into how this money is claimed, and what the expectations are, or should be.  Also, parents should be aware that blended providers may make more money available to parents but then charge back for supplies, services and other fees, reabsorb unspent funds, and often demand the return of items purchased with the parent allocated funds, resulting in a much lower net amount than what is "offered".  The net result is an overall appearance of greater funding for parents but not necessarily more money for, them while providing a much greater income for boards offering the blended program.

Greater Amounts Spent On Education Have Never Been Correlated With Better Results!

Freedom In Home Education Is Inversely Proportional To The Level Of Funding!

Know That Accredited Programs Can Bring Greater Funding To Providers.

Beware Of Providers That  Advertise A Greater Level Of Funding!