How Alberta's Budget Impacts Education
On Tuesday, the Government of Alberta presented Budget 2023 to the Legislative Assembly.
Massive spending programs like healthcare always tend to steal the spotlight, but we were very pleased to see education issues get more attention than we anticipated.
Let’s break down the education portion of the budget and what it means to parents and taxpayers going forward.
Cash and Construction
With a 5.2% increase to the total education budget, the Province has set the table for school boards to deliver noticeable improvements for Alberta families.
New school construction was also a major feature of the government’s plans.
Many kids attend schools that are older, or poorly maintained, or too distant from where young families now live, so families will benefit from the 58 new school construction projects in the budget.
Getting to school will also be easier, with about 33,000 new students becoming eligible for transportation funding.
Another 47,000 students who are currently paying bussing fees will save more than $20 million through reduced or eliminated fees.
Correcting for COVID
COVID restrictions resulted in the largest learning losses since World War II, so addressing that learning loss and the increased number of complexities our kids are struggling through was an absolute moral obligation.
In response, we see 3,000 new teachers, educational assistants, and support staff to help our kids bounce back from these generational setbacks.
New reading and math intervention plans are seeing positive early results, so these new resources will help expand these programs, and many more.
Commitment to Choice
With respect to school choice, we are especially pleased to see funding confirmed for 2,000 new seats in charter schools across the province.
Families have been flocking to these school options eagerly, resulting in a waiting list of 20,000 students - more than double the total present enrollment in charter schools!
Hopefully, future budgets will further expand charter school places, or just introduce school vouchers to ensure that every Alberta student can attend whichever school best fits their needs.
The bus transportation funding mentioned above will also be available to independent and private school families for the first time - something we have specifically been advocating for, including in our recent meeting with Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.
There’s much more detail in the full budget documents, so we’ll continue our analysis over the coming days.
But, now is the time for you to give us your feedback on Budget 2023!
What are you happy to see? What’s missing? What should we advocate for with Minister LaGrange when we next meet with her and her staff?
We need your help to continue advocating for the best possible education for all Alberta students - whether that be public, separate, francophone, alternative, charter, independent, or home education.
We scored a few wins with this budget, but in politics, nothing moves unless pushed, and we have to keep pushing if we want to see our priorities reflected in Alberta’s K-12 education system.
If your kids are currently in school, please consider JOINING the Alberta Parents' Union, for just $10 a month.
Your support not only helps us cover our bills, but shows that parents are demanding a seat at the table when our kids are being discussed.
Alternatively, if you don’t currently have kids in school, or would just prefer to make a one-time contribution, please consider DONATING towards our research, advocacy, and communications efforts.
The Alberta Parents' Union is aiming to build a mass movement of tens of thousands of parents advocating for students.
As an organization, we are only as strong as our supporters, so please get involved today!
Alberta Parents' Union