Education funding from the provincial budget has put school boards into a position of making significant cuts to create balanced budgets. This will mean larger class sizes and increased work loads for teachers, support staff, central office and boards. Canadian Rockies Public Schools is in the same boat. Education Minister Hancock has characterized this budget as not a dead-end but a bump in the road. I would describe it as a messy detour.
Over the last 3 weeks the Superintendent and Board Chair or Vice-Chair have met with every school council and the staff from each school to provide information about the CRPS budget and the impacts for students and staff. School Councils have requested a backgrounder to better understand the budget and are engaging parents in letter writing to advocate for investing in education now. Here is a poster that will be used by school councils to encourage people to influence decision-making around education funding.
Last night the School Board passed the budget for 2011-2012. It includes cuts to address a $1.6 Million shortfall. Parents at the meeting had many excellent questions. They also indicated that they are not happy with the cuts and want the Provincial Government to provide more education funding now to address this situation. CRPS will ask gov’t to provide extra funding to education by using the additional monies from oil price increases beyond their budgeted amount (budgeted at $89/barrel now over $100/barrel – each $1 a barrel increase translates to an extra $141 million in revenue for the province of Alberta) and/or to use some of the Sustainability Fund (over $6 Billion right now) to provide school boards with funding to eliminate cuts. In CRPS we need $1.1M to address our needs. The remaining $500,000 is reductions that we could manage based on lower enrolments and reasonable changes to administration and staffing.
What do you think about education funding – please respond to this poll.