by Morinville News Staff
The K-12 education funding model has remained the same for more than 15 years. The UCP Government says its new way to fund Alberta’s K-12 education system will drive more dollars to the classroom to produce the best outcomes for students.
The UCP says their new model streamlines operations, directing more dollars to each school division with every division in the province seeing more operational funding in the 2020-2021 school year.
The government’s new model also provides what it says is more predictability in funding by changing to a moving three-year average enrolment count rather than the previous year over year. It is a move the UCP says minimizes the need for mid-year adjustments to school budgets.
“Alberta will continue to have one of the best-funded education systems in the country,” said Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange in a media release Tuesday. “This new model will drive more money to our school divisions for use in the classroom and provides them with the flexibility they need to meet the unique needs of their students. These changes will ensure our divisions continue to be equipped to provide our students with a world-class, high-quality education.”
As part of the UCP drive to reduce red tape, the government says their new model gives more flexibility to school divisions on how to best invest taxpayer dollars. The current 36 grants will be reduced to 15 to simplify the system, and school divisions will have reduced reporting obligations and more leeway to direct funding to support the needs of students.
Highlights of the model include providing a targeted grant for system administration instead of a percentage of overall funding, and confirming funding commitments by the end of March each year instead of the end of September when the school year has already begun. The new model will also include new accountability measures keeping school boards accountable for student outcomes, community engagement and continuous improvement.
“Our new funding model gives schools more of what they want – flexibility, stability and predictability,” LaGrange said. “Flexibility to invest provincial dollars in areas that make the most sense for their communities. Stability in the number of grants and what the province expects for reporting. And predictability in their funding envelope to allow for better planning well ahead of each school year.”
Specific details for each grant and each school division’s funding will be available in Budget 2020, to be tabled Feb. 27. It will take effect for the 2020-21 school year.