While officials with the Grande Prairie Public School Division board wait on the finer details of the 2022 budget, they remain optimistic about the future of education in the region.
Board Chair Joan Nellis says as they continue to wait for a line-by-line breakdown for the division, one subsection she hopes to see continued funding to the fullest would be for mental health supports. She adds she is also hoping for at least the continued flexibility provided in past budgets to help fill holes as needed.
“Obviously our biggest expense is salary, but beyond that, we have flexibility in the programs that we offer and how we can fund those from the envelope that we get,” she adds.
Nellis says the end goal for the GPPSD and most other school divisions is to become as self-sustaining as possible, which will in the future allow for greater growth. She says a decrease in overall funding could make a dent in those dreams, and is hopeful the provincial government at least sustains the level of funding handed out in 2021.
“The work we’ve done there has been great and I hope the details do differ from what I’m reading ahead of time and we are able to continue some of that great work we’ve been doing,” she says.
“We’re hoping this budget tells us that we will be able to support that transition and be able to continue working on our goals and have the continuous improvement we are always striving for.”
Nellis says they expect to be fully briefed on the budget by the end of March.