October 24th, 2020

Lethbridge School Division dealing with previous cut


By Kalinowski, Tim on March 3, 2020.

Construction continues at the new Southbrook elementary school, as the Lethbridge School Division is facing difficult decisions out of the provincial budget and growing enrolment. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

New education funding announced in last week’s provincial budget will not cover the $3 million cut from Lethbridge School Division’s budget by the province in the fall of 2019, says Lethbridge School Division superintendent Cheryl Gilmore.

“This year we received $110 million and next year we’ll be receiving $111.3 million … (but) we have $3 million less budget than we did in 2018/2019 school year from the fall reduction budget,” she explains. “So we will be looking for $3 million there because we covered that by our own reserves this year. The additional difficulty we have is $1 million of the $1.3 million (base-funding grant increase) is non-transferrable facilities money and $300,000 more is for students. But at the same time, we have estimated we will have 230 more students (in 2021) than we do this year. So that $300,000, of course, doesn’t begin to cover that expense.”

And further, she says, the new three-year Weighted Moving Average funding formula introduced by the province last week will leave the school division short of funding to cover the needs of those 230 students because it is based on this year’s numbers and does not account for growth. This funding formula could effectively continue to cripple the school division going forward, she explains.

“The Weighted Moving Average doesn’t favour any jurisdiction that is growing,” Gilmore states. “If you are growing, you are always funded for fewer students than you actually have in your buildings.”

Gilmore says her school board members will be in retreat this week to try to figure out a strategy for the school division to cope with a chronic, ongoing shortage of funding in the years ahead, and how best to absorb these year-over-year cuts imposed by the province in the least disruptive way possible for students.

“The additional funding that was put into plant operation and maintenance was very welcome,” she says. “In terms of the instructional budget, I can say we’ll need to do more with less. We will need to serve an additional 230 students without the reserve levels to fully support the $3 million (reduction) we felt this year.”

She says all options to meet that funding shortage are on the table, and it is too early to speculate on what steps or measures will need to be taken next.

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potsie

School settings is archaic and demeaning especially for boys in this electronic age more should be done online with people who are your peers and not your bullies including teachers. And group activity could come in form of sporting events real hands on learning and visiting museums and work areas and never only have one teacher in a class where they can bully or push their beliefs on people.

biff

retreat! always a great way to blow money. the super and and posses already earn massive sums for administering what is a highly centralised curriculum. they have posh offices and meeting rooms where they could meet at no additional expense. board retreats, school retreats, admin retreats…and the expenses multiply.
how do we get more for our money? reduce superintendent and various assistant superintendent salaries significantly; end retreats; reduce paper and photocopying waste; new schools should be built as far more simple structures – like the lethbridge club, for example, but of course with separations for various rooms; go to a 4 day week but keeping the present hours m-th; larger classes with fewer teachers but more ed assistants. education itself can be vastly improved upon, with far more hands on learning and physical activity opportunities – students could be shuttled to schools to access various hands on endeavours, rather than duplicate often expensive machinery and equipment in every site. a far broader approach to essential life skills needs to emerge, including social skills, budgeting, health/food/cooking whole foods, and students should even be included in some of the basic cleaning and care of their schools.
clearly, the present model, in addition to being elitist and educationally archaic, is economically unsustainable. if school taxes are not bad enough, parents are being required to pony up various fees that are making public schooling increasingly private-like. moreover, it is time to end funding for religious based schooling, private schooling, or any school that is not fully publicly accessible to all.