While the Alberta budget released Thursday was tough on school boards, Grande Prairie Public School Division Chair Karen Prokopowich says they are happy with one thing: that the teachers contacts and infrastructure are being honoured.
“At the same time as providing this funding, all other grants like English as a Second Language and inclusive education funding for special needs were cut between two and three per cent. Yes, the announcement provided by the government is a hard news budget.”
Also missing is funds that recognize the salary grid movement for teachers, which will be a $1.5 million cost to the board, and funds that recognize the increase in students.
Prokopowich says in the past four years they’ve averaged five per cent growth, meaning about 400 extra students a year.
“Using the provincial government enrolment projection model’s own numbers, we will see an increase of about four per cent this year, which could be up to 350 students. This represents a shortfall of about $2.3 million to the jurisdiction for this one fact.”
Although they’re looking at an overall shortfall of $3.5 million, Prokopowich says the district will work hard to protect classrooms and school services.
Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools says their funding for 2015-16 should have increased by almost $1 million but it will now be reduced by $700,000.