Calgary teacher cuts can be averted, but provincial audit, review going ahead

CALGARY — The Alberta government is moving ahead with a financial audit and governance review of the Calgary Board of Education even though it appears hundreds of teacher layoffs can be averted.

A spokesman for Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says the government is pleased the board is considering rescinding 317 layoff notices that were sent out last month.

But Colin Aitchison says the reversal is a clear example of the board’s failed attempt to use teachers and children’s education as political tools.

An agenda for a trustee meeting Tuesday includes an updated budget report that says a $15-million infrastructure and maintenance renewal grant can be repurposed to keep the temporary teacher jobs.

Those staff, who were weeks away from being out of work, will return to schools for the remainder of the school year.

The budget report says remaining funds can also be put toward easing fee increases and keeping transportation service levels.

“Had CBE taken Minister LaGrange up on her offer to have Alberta Education assist in finding efficiencies in their operating budget, we are certain that this could have been avoided in the first place,” Aitchison said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

“Instead, the board’s unnecessary actions caused significant stress on the families of the 317 teachers and their students.”

The public school board has said the United Conservative government’s inaugural budget left it with a $32-million budget gap that would mean cutting funds to 246 schools by $22 million.

Chief Supt. Christopher Usih said the board had to act quickly because the budget was reduced mid-year and several decisions are being made on how to cover the gap.

LaGrange said at the time that she made it clear she expected all school boards to minimize the impact on front-line staff and teachers, and to put students’ educational experience first. She accused the board of a ”reckless misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

“We are moving ahead with a financial and governance review of the CBE, and will have more information in the coming days,” Aitchison said Tuesday.

The board’s budget report says challenges remain.

“The CBE will continue to be constrained by climbing enrolment, lack of operating reserves, age of facilities and cuts to services provided by central service units in the 2019-20 budget year,” it said.

“Maximizing the dollars directed to the classroom to support student results remains the top priority.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 10, 2019

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Rotary Club of Red Deer logo.
Red Deer Rotary Club hosting tree planting event later this month

The Rotary Club of Red Deer will host a tree-planting event later… Continue reading

New admissions have been suspended for Engineering Technology diplomas (Instrumentation, Electrical and Mechanical) and the Transitional Vocational Program at Red Deer College. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Developmentally disabled impacted: Red Deer College suspends program

Transitional Vocational Program comes to an end

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman holds up freedom of information requests that turned up no records. The Opposition requested back-to-school re-entry plan correspondence between Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and school boards, teachers and the media. Photo via Facebook live
NDP renews calls for Alberta gov’t to scrap K-6 draft curriculum

The NDP is once again calling on the Alberta Government to get… Continue reading

Earlier this week Alberta Health Services warned that Rocky Mountain House Health Centre emergency department would be temporarily without physician coverage from May 12, at 6 p.m., to May 13, at 7 a.m. (Photo contributed by the Town of Rocky Mountain House)
Doctors needed in Rocky Mountain House

Emergency department temporarily closed due to doctor shortage

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Insert your name here

Back in the Paleolithic Era when a McDonald’s cheeseburger was 29 cents… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
Job search: Write a request that will get accepted

Last Thursday, when I logged into LinkedIn, I had nine connection requests… Continue reading

T-shirt with vaccine shot. (Contributed photo)
Letter: Hand out T-shirts with vaccine shots

I made myself a graphic T-shirt recently after getting my vaccine shot.… Continue reading

Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor (81) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) as TJ Brodie (78) defends during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday, May 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Connor scores twice, Jets beat Leafs in regular-season finale

Connor scores twice, Jets beat Leafs in regular-season finale

Atletico Ottawa defender Vashon Neufville controls the ball during Atletico Ottawa’s first team practice of their inaugural season in the Canadian Premier League in Ottawa, Wednesday June 3, 2020. The Canadian Premier League plans to kick off its third season mid-June to early July in one location without fans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Wattie
Canadian Premier League delays kickoff again, looks to mid-June to early July start

Canadian Premier League delays kickoff again, looks to mid-June to early July start

Calgary’s Stephen Ames shoots 66 to take Mitsubishi Electric lead

Calgary’s Stephen Ames shoots 66 to take Mitsubishi Electric lead

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) deflects a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
NHL postseason: Who’s hot as the playoffs arrive?

NHL postseason: Who’s hot as the playoffs arrive?

Ottawa Senators' Connor Brown, right, celebrates a goal with teammates during third period NHL action against the Montreal Canadiens, in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 5, 2021. Brown will lead a young Canadian squad into the world hockey championship in Riga, Latvia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ottawa forward Connor Brown leads Canada’s roster at world championship

Ottawa forward Connor Brown leads Canada’s roster at world championship

Most Read