The response to questions concerning potential service cuts to some students in the region may not make many people happy.
Following up on last week’s story where Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) explained it will be looking at slashing programming and supports for students that need higher demands of the education system, Alberta Education stated it believes the funding for inclusive education is enough.
Lindsay Harvey, press secretary for Alberta Education minister David Eggen, answered a number of questions asked via email regarding the situation and stated that Alberta Education no longer assigns a classification to students nor does it tie funding to specific students.
“Education does not assign students to levels. In this case, Wolf Creek has created its own classification system to assist the board with distributing the funds it receives,” she stated.
“Education funding respects the local decision-making authority of school authorities. Each student is unique and when determining the allocation of resources at the school level, local administrators, in partnership with parents, need to take into account the goals and strategies required for students with learning needs to be successful. Funding does not need to be tied to individual students in order for the needs of individual students to be met in an inclusive education setting.”
Harvey added that while this funding is important to serving needs in an inclusive education system, “It is the entire funding framework that supports the varying needs of students in order to help them succeed.”
The inclusive funding model is split into four main components with Alberta Education providing allocations for supports and services (62 per cent), program equity (five per cent), differential modifiers based on the school division profile (25 per cent) and additional money per student (eight per cent).
While WCPS has seen a dramatic rise — up almost 50 per cent since 2014-15 — in students that require some sort of intensive educational assistance, Harvey didn’t address the division’s needs specifically.
“Alberta Education and Alberta Children’s Services support improved outcomes and high school completion rates for children and youth in provincial government care through the Success in School for Children and Youth in Care – Provincial Protocol Framework,” she stated.
Harvey added the province increased inclusive education funding in last month’s budget by $8.4 million, raising the overall amount to more than $461 million.
“Our government is proud of the investment we’re making in our kids and in the future of this province through education. Stable, predictable funding is critical to the success of students and we have kept our promises to Albertans when it comes to making sure education is protected,” she said.