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‘Deliberate effort to underfund and undermine school boards’: Education advocacy group

A public education advocacy group said the Calgary Board of Education’s announcement of a $48 million shortfall shows the provincial government is actively working against public education. 

On Tuesday, the CBE revealed what impact the Province’s 2019-2020 budget would have on their operation. The organization said they were to find they’d be receiving $32 million less this school year than last year.

RELATED: North Calgary high school funding included in Alberta budget

The CBE estimates they will need to reduce spending by around $48 million. That’s in order to balance their budget by the end of the 2019-2020 school year because the school year has already started.

“These unexpected changes will be disruptive to our students, their families, and our staff,” a CBE news release read.

“All options are being explored including larger class sizes, service cuts, staff layoffs, use of reserves and fee increases. The CBE will review every option before finalizing our budget to minimize the impacts to student learning.”

This funding cut comes as student enrolment is increasing in Calgary Board of Education schools by nearly 2,400 students.

School fees likely to go up: Support Our Students

Support Our Students, an Alberta public education advocacy group, said the cuts could mean school boards will raise school fees or increase fundraising efforts to fill funding gaps. That, the group said, places an undue burden on families who are already struggling financially. 

“There is a consistent and deliberate effort to underfund and undermine school boards across the province as evidenced by the repeated emphasis of the Minister regarding school board autonomy. This is simply a way to deflect from the responsibility this government has to adequately fund public education across Alberta,” a release from SOS reads.

SOS has also launched a letter writing campaign. Those concerned can use it to email Premier Jason Kenney, the Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange and their own MLA.