October 31st, 2020

Holy Spirit to cut staff to deal with shortfall


By Jensen, Randy on June 6, 2020.

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division, facing a shortfall of about $1.8 million in provincial funding, will be permanently cutting 21 positions this fall.

According to a release put out by the division this week, Alberta Education’s funding commitment for 2020/2021 is not sufficient to absorb wage increases due to grid movement for teachers and support staff. It will also not cover non-wage costs such as insurance, utilities, software licensing and hardware, or the extra costs associated with COVID-19 which will likely have to be absorbed after schools reopen in September.

The $1.8-million shortfall will therefore have to be made up through staffing cuts – about 20 per cent of which will come from the division’s central office, says Holy Spirit.

In response to a follow-up inquiry from The Herald, the school division confirmed it isn’t fully certain where the other cuts will be made as of yet.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Sampson indicates the remainder of the cuts will be applied to support staff and not teachers.

“In addressing this shortfall, it has been imperative to keep cuts away from our students in the classroom as much as possible,” he states. “We’ve worked diligently to reduce wherever possible and find efficiencies in other areas. As a result, some challenging restructuring and reductions of staff have taken place in all areas of the school division.”

Holy Spirit is likely to have 130 new students this fall but, as noted with a similar announcement made recently by the Lethbridge School Division, due to the province’s newly introduced Weighted Moving Average three-year funding formula only a small fraction of those new students will be funded for in this current school year.

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