Funds for Enrolment Growth Need to Support Alberta Classrooms, says ATA President

Release Date: 2017 03 16

In response to today’s release of the 2017 budget of the Government of Alberta, Alberta Teachers’ Association President Mark Ramsankar is calling on school boards to ensure funding for growth is used to enhance service for students in classrooms.

“The Government has made a commitment to stabilize funding and to ensure that rapid student enrolment growth continues to be funded. We applaud them for their effort to protect the learning conditions in Alberta’s classrooms.”

Mark Ramsankar, ATA President

But Ramsankar is concerned that increases in funding have not been used by school boards to hire sufficient staff to maintain learning conditions. Alberta has experienced unprecedented growth in student population in recent years, and while student population has grown by 16 per cent since 2009, the teaching force in Alberta has only grown by 7 per cent.

“Classrooms are overcrowded and students with special needs require greater support. School boards have the funding available to hire the teachers and educational assistants that are urgently needed. Correcting this hiring lag will improve the conditions of learning for students and the conditions of practice for teachers.”

Mark Ramsankar, ATA President

Ramsankar also applauds the introduction of funding to address the government’s planned reduction of school fees. He says that this funding will help ensure that school fees do not present a barrier for families to access public education.

However, Ramsankar also notes that although enrolment growth is being funded, there are no adjustments being made to address inflation. Basic educational grants have only received one small inflationary increase in the past five years and Ramsankar says that is placing cost pressures on school boards.

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 37,000 members.

Graph showing student and teacher population growth in Alberta schools 2009 – 2017.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with President Ramsankar, contact:

Jonathan Teghtmeyer, Associate Coordinator – Communications
Cell: 780-996-4402

Both President Mark Ramsankar and Jonathan Teghtmeyer will be on location at the Alberta Legislature following the budget announcement.