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Central Alberta school division concerned about rising carbon tax costs

Rising carbon tax costs are causing concern for Chinook’s Edge School Division.

Rising carbon tax costs are causing concern for Chinook’s Edge School Division.

Total expenditure on CESD facilities in the 2022-23 school year was $10.7 million, including the spending of $568,000 in reserves, according to a recent highlight package from a division board of trustees meeting.

Shawn Russell, associate superintendent of corporate services at the division, said Chinook’s Edge is seeing an increase in the cost for utilities.

“We have 40 buildings, including schools, our division office, our facility shops and those kinds of thing, that require a substantial amount of money to heat and keep the electricity on every year,” said Russel.

“With the carbon pricing that’s put in place for natural gas, we’ve already seen an increase in our expenditures. If the forecasted continue to occur, we’re going to see a pretty significant increase in our cost, just related to carbon tax.”

In 2022 the GJ price was $2.63 and has increased to $3.26 per GJ in 2023, according to the board of trustees highlight package, which also indicated that it is anticipated to rise to $6.33 per GJ in 2027.

“This would represent an extra $450,000 for CESD,” the highlight package states.

Russell said some of the current costs are being covered by reserves in place.

“But reserves can only last so long,” he noted.

“This is just something the board is aware of and keeping an eye on. We don’t know what will change – 2027 is still a number of years out. But we still need to be aware of it and make sure we’re planning accordingly if we don’t see a change in the way that we’re funded to help address this.”

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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