The Division is facing cuts to programs, services and staff effective January 1, 2020 due to a reduction in provincial funding, a decline in student enrollment and insurance premium increases.
Provincial funding to the Division for this school year was reduced by $1,148,000, enrollment declined by 50.5 (full time equivalents) students that reduced funding by $437,000 and our insurance premiums increased by 306% to $742,000. The combination of funding losses and premium increases means we have to make $1,085,976 cuts to programs, services and staff to balance the 2019 – 2020 budget.
While the funding situation will have a significant impact on our operations as a Division, we hope to address these changes while sustaining resources to support the classroom. To limit the impact on classrooms, six (6) staffing positions have been cut from Division Office and the Facilities Department.
Also, $413,850 was cut from services, contracts and fees and $210,000 from technology. On December 2, 2019 Alberta Education approved a one-time use of $400,000 from Infrastructure and Maintenance funding. In addition, the Division will use the entirety of our $1.5 million accumulated surplus to cover the remainder of the $3,341,947 deficit.
Given these cuts and the one-time funding approved by Alberta Education we believe we can submit a balanced budget to the Government for the 2019 – 2020 school year. The Division will now be able to restore most of the teaching and educational assistant positions that would have been eliminated effective January 1, 2020.
Our priority is to have the least impact on the classroom. The Board’s priority is student success. That success is achieved with the support of excellent teachers and support staff. We greatly appreciate all of the work WRPS staff did to address this difficult and challenging budget situation.
Dr. Terry Pearson, Superintendent of Schools, WRPS