Purchasing at HCOS

Financial Advice Page


Policy about spending can shift or be 'clarified' over time. I'll use this spot to keep updating the latest low-down on purchases. In the Summer full year

Spring/Summer purchase for the following year: In the Summer full year enrollees are given a PO number and a $500 advance.

How To Purchase

HCOS is a little complex and it takes a while. If the folks who are vendors take purchase orders they will be on this list: https://onlineschool.ca/other/resources-and-curriculum/resource-vendors/ and there are other instructions there.

If the vendor does not take HCOS purchase orders you log into Encom and go to “other resources” or something like that and it will allow you to make a request. The school will use their Visa. Materials from vendors who take HCOS POs are pre-approved. For Visa purchases, you give your PO number when you request the purchase and then it goes to me to approve. I just look at the purchase and make sure we’re that the purchase can be part of the Student Learning Plan we’ll make in September. Trips to the Bahamas don’t qualify.


Counterintuitively the “restricted” is the $600. HCOS is looking at it as accountants, not as teachers and parents. “Restricted” means restricted amounts. It refers to the maximum the Ministry allows for schools to pay parents. Restricted means “Ministry has restricted the amount”.

 The $400 is unrestricted because HCOS got around the restrictions by making it for stuff they could actually just send out on loan. So equipment and materials that could go back to the library are sent to you on “loan” and theoretically they could get them back to HCOS if you leave the school. That amount of $400 is unrestricted because the school can make it any amount they want. They just chose to make it that amount making it "unrestricted by Ministry."

Ministry Audit documents from 2014/15 quote HCOS as having the following policy: "When students are registered full-time in HCOS, each family is allocated $1,000 per student. This sum is made up of the $600 designated as “restricted funds” and an extra $400 is provided for the families out of the school’s resources budget... $600 [in restricted funds] is to be used for third-party services, which they described as the intangible resources such as consumables and third-party lessons.  Other expenses, which are
not subject to the $600 restriction, can be used towards any resources/expenses including: learning camps, co-ops, subscriptions, online courses, leased equipment and online curriculum".

The Ministry Guidelines say “Allocation of funding to third parties is to be made based on the student learning plan created by the parent, teacher and where appropriate the student. In order to meet the BC Ministry prescribed curriculum requirements, the teacher will identify the services and resources the school and family are able to provide as well as those services and resources which may require support by way of a third party.”

The full document is linked here. 


Restricted = $600/student TOTAL  Restricted funds all the funds you get to cover “Consumables” Curriculum (workbooks, stickers/sticker books, art supplies, etc.).  Most of your expenses are restricted funds. It also includes lessons, ski trips and the like. All things you can't return. 

NON-Restricted are NON-Consumable Curriculum (textbooks, novels, and equipment); HCOS computer leases (through our HCOS Head Office only);

The Internet is consumable but covered under non-restricted for some reason I don't understand. The Internet Reimbursement option we offer in the Spring.  These are things that technically could be returned to HCOS once your child is done with them. HCOS may not wish to have them returned, but the point remains, they could be.

Internet Reimbursement

The Internet Reimbursement is not an additional amount of funds…but simply another way to recoup up to $350 of your remaining funds.  It is also not automatic…so if you want to take advantage of this option…you need to go to our website www.onlineschool.ca in APRIL 2017 and download the Internet application form to complete and submit to our Head Office by the May 1st deadline.

I advise parents to spend all their funds before the middle of March and apply for Internet Reimbursement on April 1 of each year.


If you would like to use some of your funding to purchase a computer, technically it's a lease. You go to the Staples website and send me your preference to me along with a link to the correct product. I'll have a look and discuss it with you. 

Then I'll send you a link to a PDF file. You can get it here.  You will need to save the file and open it in Adobe Reader to fill it out. There will be some technical challenges, allow yourself an hour to figure this out. Complete and sign the document digitally and send it to me by email attachment.  You can also print it and fill it in by hand and then scan and email it to me. I have to upload it to the form below. 

The form I fill out looks like this. 

Computer Lease Form
Computer Lease Form

Please (click it),  look and include all the info I'll need to complete it with your email.

Additional Resource Purchases

For your information, here are the instructions I have from the school.

Non-vendor purchases (resources):

  1. Family fills out the order form
  2. Teacher gets notified, enters info in Encom in the SLP (accounting will do the ‘additional resources’ part), signs off on the form by filling in teacher details and hitting ‘enter’
  3. The parent gets notified the order has been approved via auto email – (Ted) When the teacher approves the order, there is an automatic email sent to the parent.
  4. Order goes through
  5. Parents/teachers can check with company ordered from using the family name to find out info on where an order is at

Vendor purchases:

  1. Families can do this at any time with PO#
  2. Families need to update teachers on purchases made with PO# - teachers need to ask families once a month to update them on any PO# purchases made
  3. Teacher adds resources/lessons into Encom in the SLP  
  4. Accounting adds purchase into Encom – could take a couple months from invoice to payment to entering in Encom – why teachers need to ask families about PO# purchases

A few other notes:

In addition to this list, families are also able to purchase gift cards from TpT.  They need to fill in the curriculum order form.  If you have questions about TpT please direct them to Donna Perret.  

Lessons are not paid for until October of each year.  Lesson providers can submit an invoice to the school for direct payment.  All lesson providers must have a current criminal record check.  



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