Back to school by the (big) numbers
Parents spending millions of dollars stocking up on supplies, equipment, clothing and shoes
School’s back for autumn. More than half a million students in Grades K-12 are heading back to class after the Labour Day long weekend. Here’s a compilation of some important numbers for fans of ’rithmetic to launch the school year.
537,589 Students expected to enrol in B.C. public schools.
That’s 4,232 more students than last year, according to B.C.’s Ministry of Education. Last school year there were 66,665 students with special needs (up 2.2 per cent over the previous year), 69,032 Indigenous students (down 1,279), 66,285 English language learning students (down 394) and 53,768 French immersion students (up 677). Plus there were 83,497 independent school students (up 1,838). There were 25,000 distance-learning students in B.C. last year, or almost five per cent of public school enrolment.
71,838 Number of students in largest school district.
Surrey is home to the largest school district, with 71,838 students (2016/2017), followed by Vancouver, 52,247; Coquitlam, 33,033; Burnaby, 25,120; and Central Okanagan (Kelowna), 22,092. The smallest districts are Stikine (Dease Lake), 181 students; Central Coast (Hagensborg), 221; Nisga’a (New Aiyansh), 385; Vancouver Island West (Gold River), 390; and Arrow Lakes (Nakusp), 440.
$5.9 billion is budgeted for schools in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
The budget for B.C.’s 1,566 public schools and 360 independent schools works out to about $9,100 a year per student. About $1 billion funds schools with special needs students. Some $376 million is the amount the government will spend to hire new teachers and specialty teachers for this school year.
83 per cent of students complete high school.
In the 2015-16 school year, 83 per cent of students in public schools earned their high school diploma (96 per cent of French immersion students, 87 per cent of English language learners and 64 per cent of Indigenous students.)
$883 What Canadians expect to spend on supplies.
It’s computers ($580 on average) and smartphones ($250) that push the total up, according to an Angus Reid poll. School supplies cost up to $100 per family and shoes another $300. The $883 per family is $325 more than families spent on Christmas gifts last year, the survey found.
$1,502 Is spent on average by households on education.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2014 Canadian households spent $1,502 on education spending. That includes tuition fees for kindergarten, elementary, secondary schools, university and other post-secondary education (college, trade and professional courses), textbooks, school supplies and other courses and lessons.
$764.8 million Was spent in July-September 2015
It’s the second-busiest shopping period. Total spending on stationery, office supplies, cards, gift wrap and party supplies in Canada in the third quarter of 2015 was up 0.6 per cent from 2014, according to Statistics Canada. In that same quarter, Canadians spent $281.6 million on girls’ clothing and accessories (up 3.9 per cent from 2014), and $271 million on boys’ clothing and accessories (up 9.9 per cent).
This year, Canadian families expect to spend an average of $883 to send their children back to school. The biggest expense is computers ($580 on average), smartphones ($250), followed by shoes and school supplies.