Teachers Say Education Budget “Needs Improvement”

Release Date 2018 03 22

March 22, 2018

Despite its positive features, Alberta Teachers’ Association president Greg Jeffery says that today’s education budget will not do enough to address concerns about class size, undersupported special needs and growing costs.

“Albertans will appreciate the government’s commitment to funding enrolment growth, building new schools and tackling student hunger. But this budget does not do enough to help teachers deal with large class sizes or support students with special learning needs. Base grants have only received one small increase in seven years, and school boards are struggling to keep up with inflationary pressure.”

—Greg Jeffery, ATA President

This week, the ATA released polling results that showed that 80 per cent of Albertans would support additional funding to reduce class sizes, and nearly 90 per cent of Albertans would support more money going to serve English language learners and students with special needs.

In February, Auditor General Merwan Saher reported that class sizes in Alberta’s schools have grown in 14 years because the $2.7 billion Class Size Initiative lacked appropriate oversight. The report said that class-size funding appears to have been used as additional base instructional funds.

“Only 5 of Alberta’s 61 school jurisdictions are meeting the targets for average K–3 class size. In all, 2,000 to 3,000 additional teachers need to be hired in order to achieve the accepted standards for class size. More funding is needed, but school boards also need to ensure the funds they get are directed to support the classroom.”

—Greg Jeffery, ATA President

The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, safeguards standards of professional practice and serves as the advocate for its 46,000 members.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with an ATA spokesperson, contact:

Shelley Magnusson
ATA Executive Staff Officer
Cell: 780-554-0839 (call or text)