Status quo budget still raises questions
District looks for equity on school fees
The Notley government’s third budget is pretty much status quo for school jurisdictions across Alberta. While the provincial government is committed to funding for enrolment growth there will be no increase in the all important per-pupil allocations. Red Deer Public Schools is anticipating limited growth for the 2017/18 school year.
“The government’s priority on reduce school fees for families has long been a priority for Red Deer Public Schools. More than ten years ago this board eliminated fees for elementary schools and we have worked diligently to contain fees at other levels,” said Bev Manning, Board Chair. Today’s budget indicates the government’s intention to reduce, not eliminate school fees, by 25%. “Our concern is that it looks like the government will provide funding to those school jurisdictions who were charging school fees all along but not to those, like us, who have taken resources from other areas to lessen the burden on families.” The District will review the impact of the fees funding issue in discussions with the Department.
The promise for increased capital funding will not likely result in any new schools for Red Deer Public Schools however, we hope support for modernizations and relocatable classrooms will meet pressing needs of the district.
While the funding for Red Deer Public Schools will likely remain consistent with this year, the District continues to face increased costs, such as the carbon tax and inflation. This effectively reduces our buying power and may have some impact on budgets.
At the same time, faced with significant financial pressures, Red Deer Public Schools appreciates the provincial government’s continued commitment to education as a top priority.