Delegates attending the 99th Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) approved a 2016–17 budget that will see a zero per cent fee increase. The Assembly carefully considered all program proposals and worked together to approve this budget, which will maintain the annual fee at the current level of $1,242 for a full-time teacher for the 2016–17 fiscal year.
The delegates approved the funding of eight new initiatives and an increase in spending for five current initiatives for the 2016–17 fiscal year. The cost of this new spending will be offset by the elimination of programs that will be completed in the current year and the expected increase in membership of full-time teachers. Student numbers continue to increase in Alberta and the provincial government has promised to fund education at current levels.
New initiatives include occupational health and safety training for Association staff, education in professional regulatory requirements, the implementation of a new committee on First Nations, Métis and Inuit education, and funds for field member education and training to prepare and support members from the field for participation in representation activities.
In addition, funds have been set aside for the development of a network of teacher-led hubs of innovation to increase professional capacity in areas of professional practice. Also new will be a program for MLAs and other education decision-makers at summer conference and an annual forum involving the Association and Alberta Education managers to consider education issues and directions.
The Teacher Welfare Area Conference (TWAC) funding has been increased to cover grant-in-aid for the attendance of four members per bargaining unit rather than the previous provision for three members. As well, the approved budget allows for an increase from 130 to 150 substitute teachers to attend their annual conference and for grant-in-aid funds for one member per local to attend the annual Well-Being of Children and Youth Conference.
The Government program area will see an increase in the intermediate staff complement in the communications area to produce a wider variety of education coverage in a greater variety of media. Also, in the Government program, election campaign expenses were increased to allow for a level playing field for all candidates, providing similar opportunities for participation in the election.
Finally, funds for projects and activities for the planning of the 100th anniversary of the Alberta Teachers’ Association were also approved. ❚