The Alberta government announced that funding for kindergarten to grade 12 education is temporarily being re-allocated to support the provinces response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cuts are reflecting the cost of at-home learning while in-school classes are cancelled indefinitely.
The funding will be restored when in-person classes resume.
Funding for teachers and most other aspects of the system is begin maintained but funding for transportation and some services not being utilized in an at-home learning environment, such as substitute teachers and educational assistants is being reduced.
A statement from the Alberta government said these adjustments will not have a negative impact on Alberta’s education continuity plan and school authorities will receive the funding required to provide at-home learning opportunities to their students to ensure they do not fall behind.
“COVID-19 has changed both how we provide student learning, and the operational needs of the education system. I want to stress that this is a temporary arrangement as schools focus on at-home learning. I have full confidence the system will continue to be equipped to successfully deliver our education continuity plan,” said Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education.
Any staff impacted by these funding adjustments will qualify for the federal government’s enhanced employment insurance program and other support programs for Canadian workers.
In a statement, Jennifer Turner, Superintendent of Fort McMurray Public School Division said they are deeply saddened by the additional stress tis announcement has placed on their valued employees, noting that they had no forewarning of the cuts.
“All of our employees are values and we know you have been providing meaningful support for our students and families during this challenging time. As we learn more about this announcement we will reach out to our employees in the coming days,” said Turner.
Members of FMPSD senior leadership and Board of Education will participate in a teleconference call with the Ministry of Education on Monday morning to learn more about the funding cuts.