WCPS faces significant, severe funding shortfall in wake of provincial budget

File photo

Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) is faced with a tough new reality, and a $1.8 million educational funding shortfall, following changes released in the Alberta budget, Oct. 24.

Alberta Education’s budget removes key grant funding to school divisions that is used to support students and teachers in the classroom, specifically the Classroom Improvement Fund, School Fee Reduction Funding and Class Size Funding. Although there is a new one-time transitional fund in place to replace the loss of these grants, it doesn’t cover the shortfall that comes with their removal. This represents a $250 per Wolf Creek student reduction.

“We knew that this was going to be a tough budget, but this provincial education budget creates a significant and severe shortfall in funding for Wolf Creek Public Schools,” said Pam Hansen, WCPS Board Chair. “We understand the desire for fiscal restraint, but to have this change in funding, and have it come during the school year, is extremely disappointing.”

“The UCP government promised that education funding would be maintained or increased, yet this budget clearly imposes a significant funding reduction to Alberta Public School jurisdictions. Wolf Creek educators, teachers and support staff, who are amongst the best in the province, have struggled to fill the gaps left by inadequate government funding for several years. This budget will make it impossible to do so any longer. Students, our most precious resource, will suffer as a result,” said Michael Doll, Wolf Creek Teachers’ ATA Local No. 3 president.

Additionally, but unrelated to the provincial budget, many Alberta school divisions, including WCPS, have been forced to switch insurers this school year. For WCPS this amounts to an additional $1 million in premium payments this year. The provincial funding changes and the higher premiums create a total combined $3 million shortfall in the Division’s $90 million budget.

The Board met Nov.1 to review the budget with a focus on seeking all possible solutions to honour the funding commitments made in the spring, 2019-2020 preliminary budget, despite the shortfall created by the provincial budget announcement. To that end, the Board approved the use of operational and capital reserves to fully address the $3 million deficit. This decision includes spending down board reserves that were earmarked for capital purchases such as replacing buses, school equipment, and technology replacement. This creates concerns with the sustainability of capital replacements.

Additionally, senior administration has been directed to undertake a complete review of operations to find further efficiencies in preparation for the spring, 2020 provincial budget.

-Submitted by Wolf Creek Public Schools

Just Posted

Fort Ostell Museum, Ponoka FCSS make their requests to council

Museum deals with drug dealers and operates tight budget

Waste collection made simplier in the new year

Ponoka residents will see change in garbage recycling pickup

REFLECTIONS: Ponoka was booming after the war years

By Mike Rainone for the News At the end of the long… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Ponoka Festival of Trees opening night gala and auction

Generous donors and bidders will help reach $100,000 goal

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

15 charged following protests at two Alberta kennels that provide sled dog tours

RCMP say they were called to the Mad Dogs and Englishmen kennels east of Canmore

Protesters say Alberta bill would make it harder to access some medical services

The bill would mean a health-care provider could not be sanctioned for refusing to provide a service due to morals

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Rebels ride 3-goal first period to 4-3 win over Brandon

Goaltender Byron Fancy with key saves in third period to save game

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses murder appeals in 2013 Calgary swarming death

Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera were convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder

Most Read