Now is the time to invest in public education, not cut it.
You may have heard in the news recently that Edmonton Public Schools is facing a funding shortfall as a result of the provincial budget. This year, our school District has $34.4 million less to work with after the government removed three crucial grants we rely on to keep class sizes manageable and our transportation and school fees lower for families.
Edmonton Public Schools has a modest surplus to cushion the funding gap this year, but it will not be enough to make up the shortfall, nor will we have surplus for future years. For this school year, we are committed to maintaining current staffing levels and minimizing disruption and impact on the classroom.
But we must be frugal in our spending and be the best stewards of taxpayer dollars. So, we are taking the following immediate actions:
- Put in place a hiring freeze for our Central departments
- Put in place a new approval process for the hiring of school positions
- Eliminate out‐of‐town travel and professional development for staff
- Reduce spending on external contractors to provide student assessments by $1 million
- Reduce spending from our District’s Equity fund by $1.5 million
I want to reassure you that EPSB is doing the very best with what we’ve been given. We are continuously looking for efficiencies and ways to stretch taxpayer dollars as far as possible. The reality is though, that our Board of Trustees will have to make tough decisions around bus fees and service levels to make up for the funding shortfall. These are decisions we do not take lightly. More information will be shared with parents in the coming weeks and months as we work to understand the full impact of this budget reduction.
Our students always are, and always will be, our top priority. We believe that our 105,000 students are integral to Alberta’s future. We believe that public education is important. We believe an investment in public education is an investment in our future and in the province’s economy.
I encourage parents to join us in asking the provincial government to provide school divisions with adequate, predictable, sustainable funding so that every child gets what they need to be successful.
To listen to the Board Chair of Calgary Board of Education and myself talk about the Budget 2019 click here.