Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools’ interim superintendent hopes classroom funding will be increased, or at least maintained, in Thursday’s provincial budget.
“Thursday’s a big day for us, and Friday,” said Kathleen Finnigan about the day after the budget, when details will be released to school jurisdictions.
“What is a priority for us is literacy, inclusion, faith, technology, and continuing support in the classrooms. Until we see some numbers, those are our guiding principles.”
She said supporting classroom staff during a time of funding uncertainty was also important.
In December, the division reported a $4.75-million shortfall in annual provincial funding because transitional support to address the elimination of grants was much less than expected for the 2019-20 school year.
The deficit was addressed by dipping into reserves and reducing some purchases, services and expenses in Red Deer Catholic’s $114-million budget.
The regional school division serves more than 10,480 students at 21 schools in Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House, Innisfail, Blackfalds and Olds. It also supports 600 students in a home education program.
Finnigan was appointed interim superintendent last week, when Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools’ board of trustees suddenly announced Paul Mason was no longer the division’s superintendent, effective immediately.
The board passed a motion on Feb. 18 concluding Mason’s employment, saying it was an internal employment matter and that it had no further comment. Mason had been superintendent since 2011.
Finnigan has worked at the division for 34 year as a teacher, school counsellor, vice-principal, principal, associate superintendent of inclusive learning, and associate superintendent of personnel.
“Throughout the years, Finnigan has served many roles in our school division and is an outstanding educational leader,” said Murray Hollman, school board vice-chair.
“She has a history of excellence, collaboration and sustainability to meet the needs of students, parents and staff.”
The school board will be looking at hiring a superintendent in the coming months.