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Local school divisions assessing impact of education funding cut

Grande Prairie area school divisions are still digesting the Alberta Government’s temporary cut to education funding.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced Saturday that funding for transportation, educational assistants, substitute teachers, and other services that aren’t in use while classes are cancelled has been put on hold. She says once in-person classes resume funding will be reinstated.

Peace Wapiti Public School Division and Grande Prairie Public School Division say they’re not yet ready to comment on the announcement as they still need to analyze its impact.

“These are difficult and unprecedented times. In fairness to our staff, no public statement on the impact of the Minister’s new direction will be released until PWPSD Administration has had adequate time to meet and discuss the impacts to staffing,” say PWPSD Superintendent Bob Stewart.

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“We will be receiving additional information from Alberta Education on Monday and will then work with the administration and our Board to identify what the announcement means for our Division,” adds Grande Prairie Public School Division Superintendent Sandy McDonald.

LaGrange stressed the timeframe of the decision, stating “COVID-19 has changed both how we provide student learning, and the operational needs of the education system.” The province looks to channel the funding towards the COVID-19 response.

The cuts come two weeks after the province said schools would get their full allotted funding for the remainder of the school year. It has prompted criticism from CUPE Alberta and the Alberta NDP. has also reached out to Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools for comment.

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