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Calgary Board of Education proceeds with cuts despite provincial funding promise
The Calgary public school board is proceeding with staff reductions despite a promise from the provincial finance minister to fund rising enrolment.
Speaking in the legislature, finance minister Travis Toews said "I am pleased to announce today that increased enrolment growth will be fully funded for this upcoming year."
The Calgary Board of Education faces a $40 million budget gap, with $21 million of that driven by increased enrolment.
The board chair admits to being surprised by the announcement, but Trina Hurdman says the board will take a wait-and-see approach as Toews announcement lacked detail. "Our education funding is a very complex process, there is a lot more than just the basic per student funding," said Hurdman. "We are waiting for further information from the province around what does our overall funding look like."
The president of the Calgary public teachers' association worries the province is playing a bait-and- switch game by announcing the enrolment funding without saying what other money it will actually cut.
"They could go and play the shell game and say we are not going to fund this or that," said Bob Cocking, ATA Local 38 president. "They could find a way to make it look like they are funding it but we are being maybe robbed in other areas."
The school board's chief financial officer says Monday's provincial announcement isn’t enough to stop the staff cuts already underway.
“We have not received anything concrete from Alberta Ed," said CBE CFO Brad Grundy. "It's basically full steam ahead with the plan we had."
The province hasn't indicated if it plans any cuts to other areas of education funding, telling CTV more details will be released in interim financing legislation in July.