Support our Students Alberta
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BUDGET 2019 -- SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS ALBERTA RESPONSE
As advocates for an equitable, accessible and quality public education system we are concerned with this government’s approach to funding education in Alberta.
Funding: the proposed funding model for Alberta Education 2019 will fall short of meeting the needs of Alberta students across the province. Maintaining total expenditure on education at 8.2 billion dollars, as the student population grows in Alberta by 2.2% effectively reduces the per student funding. This means every student in Alberta will have to be educated for less money. This budget does not adequately account for more students in the system, increasing expenses related to teacher pay, transportation, school maintenance and other resources and supports. Projections for the next 3 years show that funding will be less than funding for 2018-2019. The claim that funding for education is maintained in this budget is inaccurate.
Capital projects: Failure to meet infrastructure commitments is a disappointment that will be felt across the province. Particularly, as this government struggles to address ballooning class sizes. In order to properly address class size, two things must be considered; sufficient number of teachers, and adequate physical space. In metro boards many schools are operating at over 100% capacity. Making inadequate investments to build much needed infrastructure is disappointing but in keeping with the overall strategy to undermine public education by this government. 1.8 Billion dollars over 4 years will not meet the growing needs for Alberta students, when two metro boards currently have over 2 billion dollars in deferred maintenance at this very moment.
New Legislation: The UCP promise to implement a Choice In Education Act is reflected in this budget. “increase parents’ choice by increasing school boards’ ability to provide specialized educational services focused on students needs”. Choice is yet another way to dilute and undermine public education. When resources are scarce, SOS Alberta sees an obligation to focus all public funds towards public education as opposed to diluting the funding across various systems. That 290 million dollars is diverted from public education annually to subsidize private schools is an irresponsible use of public dollars during times of so called “austerity”. Coincidentally, our calculations indicate this budget should it have funded for growth on a per student basis is ~250 Million dollars.
MacKinnon report: This budget presented today is a mirror of the recommendations made in the MacKinnon Report. With extensive reference to performance based outcomes, increased reliance on non government funding, and expanded choice in education. Public education in Alberta is not safe from extensive austerity measures as indicated today.
SOS Alberta believes strongly that the quality and accessibility of a child's education should not be contingent on the price of oil. We understand the current economic situation makes budgeting decisions difficult. However, recognizing that education is an investment that pays substantial dividends is important for Albertans to support and even more important for our government to act on.
This government’s obsession with debt reduction will happen at the expense of Alberta’s children, their education, their wellbeing, and ultimately the economic future of this province. The inability to concentrate and augment funding for public education is an assault on Alberta children, 94% of whom are educated through the public system. As with all governments who prioritize choice over universality in education, the goal is clearly to undermine our current public system. We strongly oppose this budget and its failure to provide adequate resources for children across Alberta.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.