Alberta’s new education funding model will delay funding for student growth, said ATA president Jason Schilling.
“New students need funding on day one,” said Schilling. “Not year two.”
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced the framework at a news conference Feb. 18. The new framework will allocate per pupil funding based on a moving three-year average enrolment rather than a one-year enrolment count. The funding model will also reduce the number of funding grants from 36 to 15, and replace the credit enrolment unit method of funding high school students.
Schilling pointed out that using a moving average will hurt jurisdictions with growing enrolments and expressed concern at the direction the government appears to be headed.
“The government has an opportunity here to fund public education as Albertans would like them to do so,” he said. “And I’m scared that they’re going to miss this opportunity to do right by the students.”
While specific numbers will have to wait until the budget is released Feb. 27, LaGrange said the government is committed to holding overall education funding at its current level of $8.223 billion.
“Our new funding model gives schools more of what they want — flexibility, stability and predictability. Flexibility to invest provincial dollars in areas that make the most sense for their communities. Stability in the number of grants and what the province expects for reporting. And predictability in their funding envelope to allow for better planning well ahead of each school year,” LaGrange said.
Schilling said he will have more to say after budget day.
“It’s a little bit light on details, so I actually have a lot of questions about it,” he said. “We just need to see the specifics. It’s hard to make a really good educated guess. You need to actually see the numbers.” ❚