Education deficit caused by provincial under funding – CUPE
EDMONTON – A union representing 7,000 school support staff, including 3,000 at the Edmonton Public School District, says deficits at Edmonton Public and three other school districts are further evidence the provincial government is under funding schools.
Edmonton Public Schools recently announced that it expected to run a $7 million deficit this year. Edmonton Catholic schools have a deficit of about $10 million, St. Albert Catholic and the St. Paul School districts are also running deficits.
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz is calling on the provincial government to increase school funding.
“Some school districts are running operating deficits. Others, like Calgary – have a $450 million maintenance deficit,” said Lanovaz. “In times when the provincial government has surpluses in the $7 billion range, this kind of under funding isn’t right.”
Lanovaz said the problem isn’t new. “A few years ago, Edmonton Public Schools had trouble because the Alberta government wouldn’t fund a 14% increase in teacher salaries,” said Lanovaz. “The government’s response was to order an audit of the school board, which found almost nothing of any consequence.”
“To make school districts pay deficits off over several years just compounds the problem,” said Lanovaz. “It forces schools to increase class size, to double up on teaching assistants, to accept schools that are not as clean or well maintained.”
Contact: D’Arcy Lanovaz
President, CUPE Alberta
For more information about CUPE Alberta, visit www.alberta.cupe.ca