The budget proposed by Provincial Executive Council (PEC) is just a step away from becoming the approved budget for the 2021/22 fiscal year. The final (and very important) step in this process is membership approval. On the Victoria Day long weekend, local delegates to the 104th Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) will convene virtually to consider, among other matters, the approval of the proposed budget.
This is the first ARA where the budget will be presented incorporating the Teacher Employment Services program area, which was the result of merging former Member Services and Teacher Welfare. While a budget is often viewed primarily as a financial document, the budget of the Alberta Teachers’ Association is also a reflection of the Association’s activities, programs and priorities for the upcoming year. During budget deliberations, PEC makes critical choices, balancing financial considerations and member feedback, before then presenting the proposed budget at ARA to delegates. At ARA, delegates, in addition to assessing the financial implications, will also examine the merit of the proposed programs and consider their value to members, to education and to the Association.
Based on feedback from locals demonstrating broad support for the programs and services included in the draft budget, Council is recommending no change to the current annual fee of $1,347 for the 2021/2022 fiscal year. The following pages provide highlights of new programs and completed or discontinued programs within the proposed 2021/22 budget.
Sample of proposed 2021/22 new initiatives
EdTechTeam Summits — Professional Development
Throughout the past year it has become increasingly clear that many of our members need support with implementing the best pedagogy when it comes to digital tools for teaching. Postpandemic, the Association and subgroups are likely to continue to make greater use of digital approaches to enhance professional development and support member engagement. Attending conferences such as this and having Association staff regularly learning about implementing such technologies into classrooms will allow them to be more responsive to emerging needs in the field.
Designation of associate co-ordinator — Professional Development:
The proposed 2021/2022 budget includes funds to designate a current executive staff officer as an associate coordinator. The role of the professional development coordinator has become sufficiently complex to warrant the designation of an understudy and assistant in the form of an associate coordinator. The work of this program area has increased significantly, as it has taken on responsibilities that go beyond developing and delivering professional development to members, and now also includes enhanced support for subgroups and analysis and response to government curriculum, inclusion and policy initiatives. This addition is also prudent risk management and a component of succession planning for Association staff leaders.
Mentorship program for Indigenous teachers — Professional Development:
This program will constitute an integral part of the Association’s larger commitment to reconciliation. This holistic mentoring program will provide a community of support for self-identified Indigenous teachers, leadership supports and experiences related to Indigenous education, and increased awareness of engagement opportunities to become more active in Association subgroups, specialist councils, convention boards and programs, including Association Instructor Corps and Indigenous Education PD Facilitator Corps.
Curriculum engagement — Professional Development:
Certainly, all matters related to curriculum have gained significant attention since it was released in March 2021. Through this budget initiative, the Association aims to conduct events that engage members in examining student evaluation and curriculum issues. Through such activities, strategic advice can be obtained from the field with respect to how best the Association can support members in these critical areas. This work will be particularly important in 2021/22 as piloting and subsequent implementation begin. Teachers will require both effective advocacy and effective support to respond to this challenge.
Understanding residential schools in Alberta — Professional Development:
In collaboration with the Association’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, this work will result in a publication on residential schools in Alberta to support teachers with implementation of the Indigenous-focused competencies in the Teaching Quality Standard and Leadership Quality Standard, and in alignment with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. This resource will provide increased understanding of residential schools in Alberta through historical knowledge and lived experiences shared through many Elders and Knowledge Keepers in the Association’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.
Teacher Qualification Services (TQS) — Professional Development:
The Association continues to hold over 45,000 member records on microfiche. Through this project, these will be digitized to better align with the overall modernization of TQS (Teacher Qualifications Services) processes. It will be important to maintain access to these older records in digital form to reduce dependency on a technology that is becoming increasingly unreliable, to align with best practices and to allow for more efficient support of members’ evaluation requests. Furthermore, digitization of records will support increased efficiency and in the longer term reduce costs and personnel requirements as well as support the implementation of a self-service web portal that will enhance service to members and prospective members.
Leadership essentials for leaders — Teacher Employment Services:
Through this initiative, the Association aims to offer an online leadership series of four to five speakers throughout the course of the school year. The intended audience of this series would be school and central office leaders and would focus on the administrative, legal, legislated and human resources aspects of the role. Therefore, in addition to the two-day workshop for school leaders who are new to their position, this new speaker series will engage school and system leaders in ongoing professional development offered by their professional association.
Addition of one executive staff officer/investigations — Government:
The number of investigations requested of the ATA and the complexity of these is growing year over year, while the staffing complement to oversee these has remained relatively constant. From Sept. to Dec. 2020, over 50 complaints were received, each requiring an investigation that tends to range from a few weeks to a number of months. Therefore, projections are that approximately 160–170 investigations arising from complaints received will take place during the year, with an estimated 45 hearings. As such, this addition of staff will enable the Association to meet its legislatively and professionally required responsibilities.
The proposed budget for the activities described above is $378,400.
Work will be completed in the current fiscal year to develop a program of awareness with respect to the Association’s discipline and mediation services. Therefore, the budget line entitled Member Education, within the Teacher Employment Services program area, will not form part of the proposed budget for 2021/22.
The budget allocated for this activity in 2020/21 was $5,000.
Proposed annual fee for 2020/21
Provincial Executive Council is proposing no increase to the Association member fee, maintaining it at $1,347.
Funding for programs for which
the local rebate does not apply
Net fee to distribute
Local rebate at 20%
Balance of net fee (80%)