SOUTHERN ALBERTA: Country 95 News has learned the dollar amounts coming to local school boards as part of their share of $107 million in new funding recently announced by the provincial government.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Carolyn Stuparyk has confirmed local Public School Board 51 will be granted just under $1.4 million. Palliser will receive the next highest amount, with about $1.2 million. The Holy Spirit Separate School Board will receive about $667,000, while Livingston Range and Westwind Division will receive close to $865,000 and $775,000 respectively.
As for when the boards will get the money and how the funds should be spent, Alberta Minister of Education Thomas Lukaszuk held a media conference Friday morning to explain. He said criteria used to decide how much finding each school board would get was a similar system used for previous school board grants. The actual money transfer won't come until after the funds are approved by the treasury board, but Lukaszuk said that shouldn't matter to administrators.
"They can start spending that additional money as if they already had it in the bank, because the money - frankly - is as good as in the bank." said Lukaszuk. He said he will leave much of the decision-making power to local boards, but he would like the funding to directly impact kids in class. "We have reached an agreement that we're all committed to making sure these dollars end up in classrooms, benefiting kids," said Lukaszuk.
The large influx of funding was a key campaign promise in new premier Alison Redford's election campaign - her answer to widespread teaching staff cuts made heading into this school year due to a cancelled government grant program. Local school board representatives told Country 95 News they'll meet first with administrators, parents and staff before they can formally announce how the money will be spent, including whether or not they can re-hire any axed teaching staff.