CBE raises school bus fees to keep hundreds of temporary teachers
CALGARY -- More than 300 teachers on temporary contracts are keeping their jobs, at least for this year.
They were only weeks away from being told not to return in the new year.
The cuts were something the Calgary Board of Education said were necessary due to a $32-million shortfall in their budget as a consequence of the provincial budget delivered in October.
"The conversations we have with our staff around students, the conversations are always around increasing student results," said board chair Marilyn Dennis.
The CBE released their budget in the spring when the provincial government changed hands.
The board voted in favour of a proposal to use $15 million from the Interim Maintenance and Renewal Fund provided by the province to pay for their salaries.
The province said in a statement they believe this was a failed attempt to use teachers and kids as political tools.
"Instead, the board’s unnecessary actions caused significant stress on the families of the 317 teachers and their students," said Colin Aitchison, press secretary to Education Minister Adrianna Lagrange.
Changes to school bus transportation
The board has also let parents know there will be changes to school bus transportation.
Each student who rides a yellow school bus will have to pay $365 for this school year, including the 6,000 students who had fee-free transportation.
The Calgary Transit rebate has also been cancelled.
Several students at Terry Fox Junior High School walked out of classes to show support for teachers.
"Even though the layoffs are being rescinded, it does not mean that the funding is going to go down, that does not mean that education isn’t going to be harmed," said William Devine, a Grade 9 student.
The CBE admits it’s been a difficult few weeks, but staff morale remains high.
"One of the things that really excites me in my role, is when I visit schools and I go around the district and I’ve been really, really impressed given the challenges we’ve grappled with this fall," said chief superintendent Christopher Usih.