March 12, 2013
Spring is in the air and we should soon see a return to warmer weather and green grass. Spring is also the time when the Government of Alberta tables the Provincial Budget. On March 7, that was done.
Amidst all the hype about the “Bitumen Bubble” and the loss of revenue, it is prudent to share with you some of the impact this budget will have on the operations of Parkland School Division (PSD).
In the budget it was announced that the basic student enrolment grant would be frozen at the 2012 levels. As this grant represents the bulk of dollars used for instruction, that translates to no increase in funds for the classroom. This means that any additional costs (inflation, salaries, etc.) will have to be absorbed. The government did set aside an additional amount to fund enrolment increases and as we anticipate growth for the next school year, the funds to service that growth will be there. Unfortunately, there were some budget cuts to other areas and targeted grants that will have a more serious impact. At this time PSD’s Board of Trustees and Senior Administration are attempting to determine the specific areas, and to what degree they will be impacted. As this becomes clearer we will be making the information public.
The budget will present sizable challenges to PSD. While two targeted grants were increased, most were reduced or eliminated. As a Board we will do everything we can to minimize the impact to schools and students, but we do know that some tough decisions will have to be made.
The Class Size Initiative (CSI) grant was increased by 2% or approximately $88,000. This grant supports maintaining smaller class sizes for kindergarten to grade three students. There was a similar increase of $107,000 to support Inclusive Education, which helps provide appropriate support for the diverse needs of children in classrooms.
However, there were a number of reductions and cuts which will impact operations for the next school year. With the increase to the CSI and Inclusion grants, the net loss in revenue for 2013-2014 is $3,099,000. A preliminary analysis is listed below.
|Reduction of the Credit Enrolment Unit (CEU) funding for High School, work experience and special projects
|Reduction in CEU funding for Alberta Distance Learning courses
|Change to Equity of Opportunity grant formula
|Elimination of Learning Resources Distribution Centre (LRDC) grant
|Elimination of the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) grant
|Change POM funding formula
|Reduction in the Infrastructure Maintenance Renewal (IMR) grant
|Elimination of the Fuel Price Contingency grant
|Reduction of 10% in the allowable administration costs
Although these changes will apply to next school year and beyond, there were two cuts that will be effective April 1st, 2013, and will impact Parkland School Division operations for remainder of this school year.
One unknown cost implication for the Board is in relation to teacher and support staff salaries which have yet to be settled.
There will be some significant challenges for the Board and some difficult decisions ahead, but the guiding principle for the Board will be to do everything possible to protect the classroom and learning environment for our students.
We are committed to keeping our stakeholders informed as we work through the budget details. If you have any questions, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org or TheBoard@psd70.ab.ca
Parkland School Division