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Impact of Budget 2015/16

Posted on:

News Release

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Impact of the Provincial Government's 2015/16 Budget

Northern Gateway Public Schools joins with a growing number of Alberta School Boards in issuing its concerns related to the impact of the recently released provincial education budget on students and schools across the division.

“Budget 2015 is unique in that it not only reduces funding to school boards, it also reduces the flexibility of school boards to address the impact of these cuts,” commented NGPS School Board Chair, Judy Muir.

Key aspects of Budget 2015:

  • As part of the Government’s education budget, school boards are no longer allowed to spend accumulated reserves without having the approval of the Minister of Education. School Board reserves are funds that have been set aside to ensure the stability of education services when funding cuts occur. They are the result of careful planning and prudent spending. In the past, NGPS has used its reserves to minimize the impact of funding cuts on the services and supports available to students. 
  • Based on the Provincial Government's 2015/16 Budget there will be no new funding for enrolment increases for September 2015. Northern Gateway is not currently projecting an increase in student enrolment for 2015/16, anticipating a decrease of 111 students which translates into $600,000 less for our Division. 
  • Budget 2015/16 protects front-line teaching positions, requiring cost reductions to come from other areas of personnel, programs and supports to achieve a balanced budget. While base funding for teaching staff increases by 2% or $532,800, real costs associated with maintaining staff, with salary and benefit increases included, is approximately $848,400 creating a shortfall of $315,600 while funding for non-teaching staff has been decreased by an additional 3.1% or $105,000. 

“The freeze on reserves, combined with the funding reductions announced in the Provincial budget, limits the ability of NGPS to cushion the impact of these cuts on students across the division,” said Muir. “This will likely result in larger class sizes, the potential for increased fees for service, and a reduction in supports at all levels across the Division.” 

Anticipated funding decreases for Northern Gateway Public Schools: 

  • Funding for First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students will decrease by 3.1% or $24,103
  • English Language Learners (ELL) funding decreases 3.1% for a total of $3,725
  • Inclusive education (special educational needs) decreases 1.9% or 69,546
  • Outreach program funding for high school students decreased 3.1% or $7,808
  • Transportation funding decreases 1.35% for a total of $70,052
  • Plant Operation and Maintenance funding (PO&M) decreases by 3.1% for a total of $124,466
  • Social Economic Status (diverse needs of students) decreases 3.1% or $23,405
  • Equity of Opportunity (diversity of Division) decreases by 3.1% or $17,885
  • Early Childhood Program Unit Funding (PUF) decreases 3.1% or $34,046
  • Further reductions in school board's administration spending: $303,000 

Projected revenue loss as part of Budget 2015 is anticipated to be approximately 1.1 million dollars. 

Northern Gateway Public Schools has an annual operating budget of 61 million dollars and has a reserve in excess of 3 million dollars accumulated over a number of years. 

Muir shared further that “the reduction in funding coupled with the restrictions on staffing and reserves will make it impossible to maintain educational supports and services across our division. We urge government to reconsider the decision to freeze school board reserves and return to school boards the flexibility to make decisions in the best interest of their students and the communities that they serve.”

For more information please contact:

Kevin Andrea
Superintendent of Schools


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