Where most of your education tax dollars go

Not much to students: 72% to salaries, pensions and benefits, says Fraser Institute study.

September 10, 2015

TORONTO — Want to know where the money goes when you give public schools a raise? Compensation costs-including salaries, benefits and pensions consume almost 75% of all increases in spending on public schools, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute.

“Despite claims to the contrary, education funding is not being cut. Spending on public schools has increased, with the additional money paying mainly for salaries, pensions and benefits,” said Deani Van Pelt, director of the Fraser Institute’s Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education and co-author of Understanding the Increases in Education Spending in Public Schools in Canada.

For example, the public policy think-tank says between 2003-04 and 2012-13, compensation costs rose from $30.9 billion to $44.6 billion-an increase of $13.8 billion, which represents 72.2% of the overall $19.1 billion increase in education spending during the 10-year period.

Pension costs rose by 89%. Increases were greatest in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, all exceeding 100%. Salaries and wages increased by 42%. And benefits (extended health, etc.) increased by 36.2%.

Capital spending (new construction, renovations, etc.) almost doubled (97.6%) over the 10-year period, to $4.8 billion from $2.4 billion. Ontario, Quebec and BC account for 92% of the increases, which include a $551 million capital spending increase in Ontario in 2004/05 alone.

The report reveals this increase in spending took place despite a decline in student enrolment (4.9%, from about 5.3 million students to a just over 5 million during the 10-year period).

Click here for a copy of the report.

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