Over the May long weekend, delegates participated virtually in the 104th Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) and approved the budget for the 2021/22 fiscal year, resulting in no change to the current fee of $1,347 per year for a full-time teacher.
The assembly approved funds to support a number of new initiatives. While some programs and services have been discontinued, others have been introduced, resulting in overall budget expenditures increasing by less than one per cent, compared to the 2020/21 budget.
Faced with substantial increases in both the number and complexity of professional conduct cases, ARA delegates voted in support of increasing the Government staffing complement by one, adding an executive staff position to further support investigations-related work and better enable the Association to meet its legislative responsibilities.
Relatedly, delegates approved to provide compensation for field members serving on the Professional Conduct Committee, Professional Conduct Appeal Committee and Professional Conduct Complainant Appeal Committee who meet and perform professional tasks on holidays or non-operational days.
The approved budget allocates funds that will allow Professional Development staff to receive training in order to better respond to emerging technological needs of members. Furthermore, funding was approved for the development of a mentorship program for Indigenous teachers, which constitutes an integral part of the Association’s larger commitment to reconciliation.
Also, in collaboration with the Association’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, work will begin on 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.
In addition, plans were approved for the Association to conduct events that engage members in examining student evaluation and curriculum issues.
In alignment with the Association’s shift to automate a number of its processes, in the upcoming year, funds will be directed to help modernize key aspects of Teacher Qualifications Services (TQS), through a digitization of historical records that increase efficiency and facilitate better service to members.
Also, expenditures were approved to offer an online leadership series of four to five speakers throughout the course of the school year. This series would be targeted at school and central office leaders and would focus on the administrative, legal, legislated and human resources aspects of the role.
Finally, delegates approved funding so that Associate members employed at private or charter schools can attend Summer Conference to enhance their skills to support collective bargaining, alongside their colleagues employed by school divisions.
At the conclusion of a productive long weekend of debate, delegates approved an overall budget with a deficit of $39,300. The annual fee for associate members will remain unchanged at $202.05. ❚