Clearview not ready to hit panic button with cutbacks

Despite restrained funding from the provincial government, Clearview School Division and school administrators remain committed to quality education for students –and aren’t ready to hit the panic button.

Despite restrained funding from the provincial government, Clearview School Division and school administrators remain committed to quality education for students –and aren’t ready to hit the panic button.

Clearview faces an extra cost of $450,000 after Education Minister Dave Hancock recently announced that the expected wage increase for teachers of about a 3 per cent for the 2010-2011 school year will not be funded by the provincial government; but that school boards will need to find a way to fund this increase out of the funds already allocated.

“In Clearview, we have been, and will continue to be, prudent financial managers,” said Ken Checkel who chairs the board.

“Our staff and board work very diligently to provide excellent programming for students within the resources available.”

“We are in the position, through this practice, of not having to panic financially as we look forward to the 2010-2011 school year.”

Clearview is discouraged by the provincial government.

“It is of great concern to us that the Alberta government is not following through on its commitments for funding and this will have a negative effect on Clearview public schools,” said Checkel.

“We will work very hard to make this impact as small as possible, but we cannot continue to have increased costs and frozen revenue without negatively impacting our ability to offer programming.”

“We have asked our local MLAs (Jack Hayden for Drumheller-Stettler and Doug Griffiths for Battle River – Wainwright) for a meeting to discuss the 2010-2011 school year and look forward to the opportunity to discuss the impact of their decision making on the staff, students and families in Clearview.”

Minister Hancock has recently made several announcements concerning funding to school boards for both the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.

He announced that grant levels for the 2010-2011 school year will be frozen at 2009-2010 levels and several grants (such as daily physical activity) will be eliminated.

Hancock also announced that the provincial government will honour its commitment to fund teacher wage increases for the 2009-2010 school year.

Through an arbitration process the provincial government and the Alberta Teachers Association learned that teachers wage increase for the 2009-2010 school year is to be 5.99 per cent. The province had previously only funded to a 4.82 per cent increase.

Meeting on March 31, Clearview trustees carried a motion with directions to management for the preparation of the 2010-11 budget.

Instructions include possible service reductions and staff cuts and improved efficiency in service delivery.

Division administration will now work with schools and departments to develop a budget proposal to present to the board in May 2010 for the 2010-2011 school year.