Members' Update

Alberta Budget 2023

Students Should Expect Significant Investments Outside of Election Years Too

Jason Schilling answers questions from reporters

The education budget tabled today represents a significant investment in Alberta’s schools, but students should be able to expect that education will be supported all years, not just at election time. The $433 million increase in operational funding is a significant increase that has not been paralleled in many years.

Unfortunately, after years of rapid population growth and chronic underfunding—while dealing with the effects of the pandemic on students and teachers—this budget just begins to set us on the road to getting the schools and supports students need.

School boards will see a 6 per cent increase to base funding rates and a 10 per cent rate increase to specialized grants like the specialized learning supports grant. The government will also be introducing a new classroom complexity grant to begin tackling the issue identified consistently as the most important issue for teachers.

ATA president Jason Schilling says the $42 million for classroom complexity is a very good start to tackling these issues, but it is long overdue and will not be enough to address the systemic issues plaguing schools right away. This funding will need to continue and grow in the years ahead.

Large increases to operations and maintenance and transportation funding mean that school boards should not need to pull funding from instruction in order to address cost pressures in other areas. We expect school boards will begin hiring teachers very soon to correct the fiscal imbalance from recent years.

President Schilling recognizes that this is very much a pre-election budget offered in a year when resource revenues are at an all-time high. 

“It’s sad that schools have to wait for an election year when oil prices are high to get the funding they need,” he said. “Our students should always be able to expect appropriate funding independent of political and economic cycles.”