Provincial Budget Negatively Impacts WRPS: board chair

WRPS faces over $3 million loss on original budget

Dear editor,

Alberta Education presented the provincial budget on October 24, 2019, following that announcement the details of the budget were shared with school divisions.

Last spring, the Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools Board of Trustees approved the budget anticipating a substantial reduction in revenue; however based on the provincial announcement our Division is now facing a $3,119,947 million loss on its original budget of $49 million, which represents a 6.4 % decrease in funding.

“Our priorities were set before the 2019/20 school year and reevaluating them mid-year will have significant impact on staff and ultimately students,” said Superintendent Terry Pearson.

The Division will now have to use all of its $1.5 million accumulated reserves to cover a portion of this year’s deficit. Based on the governments accelerated timeline the Board will have some challenging mid-year decisions to make.

“We are working to address the changes while sustaining adequate resources to support students and have the least impact on the classrooms; however, this funding shortfall will ultimately have an effect on programming, services and supports,” stated Board Chair Lynn Ware.

The provincial budget does not appear to support the unique landscape of rural education and this is cause for concern as we anticipate the 2020-2021 budget announcement and changes to the Kindergarten to Grade 12 funding model.

Our Board and administration are determined to explore opportunities and partnerships to ensure student success. We are committed to our vision of a learning community that nurtures hope and inspires a sense of purpose for all.

Lynn Ware board chair

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