Posted 23 hours ago
Another school board meeting has come and gone, and important issues were discussed.
“During the past board meeting, we focused on the important issues of the budget, the divisional calendar was passed, and we looked at a website review,” noted PLRD superintendent Dr. Wes Neumeier.
Although the new budget is projected to increase teacher’s salaries by 4.4 per cent, the overall decrease of funding to PLRD by the province is approximately $840,000.
“The provincial budget that was announced is actually quite devastating for rural education, and for Prairie Land specifically,” he explained.
The combined cuts to the rural stabilization, class size and the Alberta initiative for school improvement allow has resulted in a PLRD funding decrease of $710,000 in 2012-13.
“If you look at the budget, some significant allows were cut in order for the government to increase the base instruction by 4.4 per cent,” Neumeier said. “That 4.4 per cent is intended to offset the increases for instructor salaries the government negotiated.”
Cutting the allows will really impact rural schools because they are looking at inter-jurisdiction funding that is been cut by 100 per cent.
“We’re looking at rural stabilization funding that is been cut by 50 per cent this year, and 50 per cent next year,” he said. “A lot of our school improvement has been supported by the Alberta initiative for school improvement grant, and with a drop of $105,000 Prairie Land is going to feel the effects.”
To offset the reduction in funds, 15 or 16 professional staff members would have to be cut.
“That’s if you just worked on the professional staff to make up the cuts,” he said. “The overall budget we are looking at is a deficit of $1,650,000 for next year.”
Neumeier stated slicing staff is not an option and is looking elsewhere for cuts.
“The board has been in consultation with principals, district office, and we are going to continue those to look at how we prioritize and structure the classroom and see what can be cut throughout the district,” he said.
“We’re also going to look at how we offset the costs in the first couple of years with some of the reserves that the board has.”
PLRD has some operating reserves and will be using it to cushion the budget cuts.
“We’re going to be cushioning those cuts and phasing them in while we articulate a position for greater funding for rural education with the government,” Neumeier said. “We are advocating for increased funding for transpirations.
“We got an increase of $33,000 for transportation this year, but we had a trajectory deficit of over $100,000. As you can see that increase doesn’t offset the projected deficit.”
The board is meeting with rural MLAs, including Jack Hayden to try and obtain exta funds.
“We are advocating yet, for increased funding for rural transportation. We are meeting with the rural MLAs and the board is going to be laying out our picture and asking that they reconsider the funding,” he explained. “Maybe they can bring back the contingency funding for fuel.”
Neumeier believes Hayden is concerned about rural education.
“We feel if (the politicians) comprehend fully the impact that this budget will have on rural education, that they will reconsider the funding allocations to rural education,” he said.
source : www.hannaherald.com
Submited at Saturday, March 26th, 2011 at 3:00 am on Uncategorized by Gillan
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