Officials react to education announcements

  • Jun. 3, 2015 2:31 p.m.

The restoration of funding for education is welcome news for Red Deer Public Schools, officials have said.

Last week David Eggen, minister of education confirmed the elimination of funding cuts that had been announced by the former government. These cuts had been a major concern for school boards across the province.

“We welcome these important funding announcements which clearly show that education is a priority for the new government and the people of Alberta,” said Bev Manning, board chair of the Red Deer Public School district. “Our students are our future and we need to make the right investments in education to ensure students receive quality education.

“The fact that 19 school jurisdictions came together during the recent provincial election in an unprecedented effort to raise concerns about education funding shows the magnitude of this issue. Those concerns have now been addressed and we can move forward.”

Red Deer Public Schools has developed a draft budget for the 2015/16 school year and will address needs that emerge in classrooms and across the district in September. The new funding will allow them to address the key priorities and directions established by the board.

Last week the NDP government announced funding for enrolment growth for the 2015/2016 school year will be re-instated and will be based on each board’s Sept. 30th funded enrolment count.

The announcement also included fully restoring the previous reductions in grants to the 2014/2015 school year level and will increase the base instruction and class size grants.

The government also announced they will continue to provide funding for the final year of the Teacher Framework Agreement, which includes a 2% increase in teacher salaries in September and a 1% one-time lump sum payment to teachers in November.

The previously communicated restrictions regarding the use of school board reserves and maintaining front-line teacher staffing levels have also been removed and boards have the flexibility to make programming, budgeting and staffing decisions that reflect the needs of students and communities.

Officials with the board will review the implications this has over the next month and respond as needed to best meet the needs of students across the district.

– Fawcett