Delegates attending the 98th Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) approved a 2015/16 budget that will see the annual fee for a full-time teacher rise 1.5 per cent, or $18, to $1,242.
Delegates recognized that programs need to continue and new initiatives are critical in order to build the Association’s profile and support its members. After three years of no fee increases, delegates approved a fee increase of 1.5 per cent in order to provide the necessary resources for the year ahead.
The student population in Alberta continues to grow, and the Association has seen an increase in membership of more than 980 full-time teachers since this time last year. The Association’s role and responsibility is to serve its members, and with increased membership there is an increase in demand for services, ARA delegates heard. The Association can no longer maintain its desired service levels with its current staff complement, so the assembly supported an increase to the executive staff complement by three new positions for the upcoming year.
ARA delegates also approved funds to support eight new initiatives in the 2015/16 fiscal year. Funds have been earmarked to evaluate and revise a pension education program aimed at teachers and expand the program to include a public audience to educate and inform the general public of the value of defined-benefit pension plans.
In addition, funds have been set aside for the development of a web-based communication tool that will assist the work of the Member Services program area and address issues of a general nature. This online tool will provide further information outside of regular field service work and can be accessed by members at any time.
The Professional Development (PD) program area budget has been increased to provide funds to develop PD resources using online and blended formats such as streaming video and webinars and to support the online growth planning service beyond the two-year pilot funded by the government, which will be concluding in June 2015.
Provincial Executive Council will continue the work of the Committee on the Role of the Superintendent and conduct research to identify the key characteristics of a supportive superintendency in order to set affirmative Association policy on school system leadership. This will be initiated and sustained in collaboration with the Council for School Leadership and will be augmented by a program of support for school leaders to establish a leadership mentorship network that’s tied to similar national efforts by the Canadian Association of Principals.
Furthermore, the Association will conduct a comprehensive study on the cross-professional scope of practice that will examine common trends and patterns that are redefining the professions of policing, medicine, health care and education. The study will bring together leading international researchers on the evolving nature of the work of professionals and will contribute to the Association’s efforts to advocate for clearer parameters that define the role of teachers and support calls for optimal conditions of practice. ❚