On Saturday the provincial government temporarily cut funding for K-12 education to redirect money into Alberta’s COVID-19 response.
The Alberta Teachers Association estimates that the funding cuts will result in over 20,000 layoffs of substitute teachers, school bus drivers, educational assistants who work with special needs students and others.
While the provincial government has stated that final personnel layoffs from the funding cut will be decided on by the school boards, Superintendent of Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools, Terry Pearson says, “what they’ve indicated is to make the cuts to those positions.”
Wetaskiwin Regional Public School board has followed the provincial mandates and has made approximately $850,000 in cuts across their schools.
Pearson insists that these are only temporary layoffs and come fall, all educational assistants and contracted bus drivers with Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools will be back.
Educational assistants with Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools will continue to work until the end of the month, and then they will have to apply for EI. They will still receive their full benefits package while laid off. However, despite returning in the fall, the 2020-2021 budget is yet to be determined which may impact EA jobs in the province this coming school year.
Pearson also addressed the status of Wetaskiwin Regional Public School’s graduation celebrations. “Graduations that have been scheduled have been cancelled,” he says. However, no official decisions have been made in regards to a postponed ceremony.
Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools have also rolled out their Learning Continuity Plan across the individual school websites this week. These plans include learning packages and website communication tools for learning resources such as Google classroom.