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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Submitted
Montana First Nations councillor gives back to youth

By Chevi Rabbit For Ponoka News Reggie Rabbit is a newly elected… Continue reading

General Support Services workers were picketing on 46 St. at the entrances to the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury on Oct. 26 . (Emily Jaycox/PonokaNews)
Ponoka Centennial Centre support workers strike

General Support Services staff hit the picket line Oct. 26

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Alberta’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. The Alberta government is hoping to get more Albertans employed by moving to limit the number and type of temporary foreign workers it allows into the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta to limit temporary foreign worker program to save jobs for Albertans

Temporary foreign workers already in the province won’t be affected

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join AUPE walk outs across the province Monday Oct. 26, 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin health-care workers strike in protest of province-wide cuts

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join other front line hospital workers across the province in walk-outs.

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

The death of 19-year-old Jacob Michael Chitze of Edmonton has now been ruled a homicide following an ongoing RCMP investigation.
UPDATE: RCMP arrest youth for second degree murder of 19-year-old Jacob Chitze

Arrest made for the murder of Jacob Michael Chitze, 19.

Most Read