Jan. 30, 2020
Your Board of Trustees values transparency about how we spend taxpayer dollars and how we make decisions as a board. Transparency and the belief that families are important partners in the decisions we make as a board is what drove us to recently share budget scenarios in a letter home to parents.
Those scenarios are based on a few facts.
Edmonton Public Schools is the fastest growing school division in the province. Over each of the last nine years, we’ve welcomed 3,000 more students into our schools. That’s incredible growth and we project seeing the same growth going forward. That means we anticipate to see an additional 3,000 students or about 100 more classrooms of students enter our Division for the 2020-2021 school year and for each year in the foreseeable future.
The Minister of Education has stated that the provincial education budget has been frozen at $8.2 billion until 2022. This is despite the fact that Alberta schools will enrol 15,000 new students each year.
With funding frozen and more students, our budget shortfall will grow. To prepare for the 2020-2021 budget, we are working on budget scenarios. We anticipate operating expenses could be reduced by a further $66.5 million, and we could be faced with an overall shortfall of approximately $100 million next year, compared to how we currently operate.
The Board of Trustees is concerned about the future of education for students in Edmonton Public Schools.
Our schools have already had to make some difficult choices and more lie ahead unless the provincial government provides us with adequate, predictable, sustainable funding. Without this, Edmonton Public Schools will be assessing the affordability of all of our programs and services.
We’re doing the best with what we’ve been given by the provincial government. But this large, and growing, shortfall will negatively affect classrooms in the coming school year. This could mean larger class sizes and fewer resources and supports for students.
Public education matters, and each of you has an important role to play in its future. Your voice matters. Call or email your MLA and the Minister of Education, cc-ing your Trustee, with your concerns about adequate public education funding in Alberta. Investing in public education is critical for Alberta’s future.