Trustees with the Calgary Board of Education approved the 2018-19 budget on Tuesday and say the $1.4 billion provides stable funding to support students.

Earlier this month, the CBE said it had a $35 million shortfall and that it would have to come up with extra funds to keep service at normal levels after the province said it would not make up the three percent shortfall.

The board receives more than $1 billion annually from the province and a portion of that funding was used to grow enrolment and support about 2000 new students.

The CBE has had nine straight years of funding issues and blames higher fees on things like transportation, extra costs for lunch room supervision and alternative programs.

Trustees approved the 2018-19 budget on Tuesday afternoon and officials say the funds will support 249 schools and over 120,000 students.

“This budget achieves a reasonable balance and enables us to keep dollars in the classroom,” said Board of Trustees Chair Trina Hurdman in a statement. “Our schools once again have stable funding and the opportunity for students to flourish in their school environments.”

The board says it covered the $35.6 million shortfall with service changes, process adjustments, program modifications and approximately $2.5 million in reserves.

Alberta’s Education Minister, David Eggen, released a statement to CTV News saying…

“Given the substantial investment we have made in the Calgary Board of Education, it is my expectation – and that of all Calgarians, for that matter – that the elected board make decisions to balance their budget without impact on frontline staffing levels. Claiming deficits and then banking surpluses is a recurring practice of this school board and I would encourage them to consider prioritizing classrooms with the $1.1 billion we have provided this year.”

Money for continued Classroom Improvement Funding (CIF) is included in the budget and will be used to add 149 full-time equivalent positions to the system.

Budget highlights include;

  • A math leader in each school
  • Implementing and replacing a Student Information System
  • Preparing for the implementation of new kindergarten to Grade 4 programs
  • Evaluation of and action on the results of the system-wide staff engagement survey
  • Increase funds allocated directly to schools by $22.5 million to fund enrolment growth of 1.5 percent and the opening of two new schools (This does not include the $13.3 million CIF)
  • Increase noon supervision fees by up to 3.9 percent and transportation fees by 4.5 percent
  • Reduce service unit budgets by 3-10 percent (approx. $15 million) of discretionary budgets
  • Non-school facility capital project spending is budgeted at $31.6 million
  • Maintaining full-day kindergarten at 16 sites. The $2.2 million cost is partially paid from reserves (up to $1.2 million)

The CBE says the 2018-19 budget is balanced, which is required by law, and that it will now be submitted to Alberta Education.

Click HERE to see the 2018-19 budget.