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No spending increase on education in Alberta budget

“Like every ministry, we're seeking greater efficiency and less management costs, less overhead costs in the way we deliver services and any resources we can find."
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Canmore Collegiate High School.
Canmore Collegiate High School. RMO FILE PHOTO

EDMONTON – Spending on education in Alberta won't increase for the next four years as the provincial government works to rein in expenses and reach a balanced bydget by 2022-23.

The UCP government's 2019-20 budget for Alberta's was released Thursday (Oct. 24). The budget included $8.2 billion in operating spending for the Ministry of Education, which is in line with last year's spending for schools in the province.

Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews said that amount accounts for projected enrolment growth of 2.2 per cent (roughly 15,000 students).

“Like every ministry, we're seeking greater efficiency and less management costs, less overhead costs in the way we deliver services and any resources we can find,” Toews said.

The government is also rolling three education grant programs into one, which it hopes will give school boards more flexibility in how they address priorities, and introducing one-time funding. Both measures are aimed at easing the pressures of growing enrolment.

The Class Size Funding, Classroom Improvement and School Fee Reduction grants will be combined to help fund enrolment growth, along with a one-time per-student transition grant, which is valued at approximately $150 million province-wide.

The province is in the midst of coming up with a new funding formula for education, and the new model is expected to be considered as part of Budget 2020-21.

Toews said the funding formula will roll out for the next school year.

The budget outlines $1.8 billion in capital spending for school construction and modernization. That amount includes $123 million for approximately 250 new modular classrooms and $397 million over five years for 25 new and modernized school projects, the details of which will be released in coming months and years.



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April Hudson

About the Author: April Hudson

April is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette
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