Overview of the Education budget within Budget 2014
Under Budget 2014, support to the education system, including opted-out education property taxes and school facility funding, reaches $7.4 billion – a significant investment in students of $37 million every school day.
This budget will see the ministry’s operating budget (excluding capital spending) increase by $201 million, or 3.2 per cent. This increase supports the following:
· Finishing the last five months of the 2013/2014 school year to accommodate the significant growth in general enrolment and demographic factors, as well as the grant rate increases for class size and inclusive education funding provided to boards in September 2013 under Budget 2013.
· Grant rate increases and enrolment growth for the 2014/2015 school year. Government continues its commitment to inclusive education and small class size initiative. Both will receive a two per cent grant rate increase for the 2014/2015 school year.
· Funding provided to school boards for the first seven months of the 2014/2015 school year to support anticipated student population growth and changes in student demographics. Student enrolment is projected to grow by 3 per cent, or 18,000 new students for the 2014/2015 school year. We also expect a 4 per cent increase in First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, 7 per cent increase in English as a Second Language students and a 9 per cent increase in the number of Early Childhood Services children with disabilities.
Key Highlights of Budget 2014
· $476 million for the Plant Operations and Maintenance grant to support the day-to-day upkeep of school facilities
· $402 million for inclusive education funding to ensure school jurisdictions have the flexibility to meet the unique needs of all students in an inclusive setting
· $377 million for the current services contributions to Alberta Teachers’ Pension Plan
· $282 million for student transportation to support a safe transportation system for nearly 300,000 K-12 students across Alberta
· $265 million for the class size funding to reflect the two per cent grant rate increase and significant enrolment growth in Early Childhood Services (ECS) to Grade 3
· $113 million for Equity of Opportunity to ensure equitable access to education programs for all Alberta students, especially those attending rural schools
· $61 million for Regional Collaborative Service Delivery (include formerly Student Health Initiative, Children and Youth with Complex Needs, and Regional Educational Consulting Services) to support schools and community partners to meet the needs of children and youth (ECS to Grade 12), as well as families who have children and youth with complex needs (birth to 20)
· $5.2 million for eligible school boards to bring their average teachers’ salary (with four years of education and 10 years of education, or C4MAX) to the Adjusted Provincial Average as outlined in Part B of the Framework Agreement between the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Alberta School Boards Association.
One-time mitigation funding is provided to eligible school boards to ensure no board will receive less funding compared to the estimated funding for the 2013/2014 school year. This funding provides certainty for school boards as they begin to plan for the upcoming school year.
Teachers’ Pension Plan
In this budget, $377 million is spent to support the government portion of the current services contributions to the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund to account for the growth of the teacher work force. With the additional $455 million paid by Treasury Board and Finance for the unfunded liabilities for the pre-1992 services, total government contributions will be $832 million for 2014/2015.
School Facility Funding
Total school facility funding reaches $649 million to fund the construction of new schools, modernization of existing schools, modular classrooms and Infrastructure Maintenance and Renewal (IMR) funding.
Infrastructure Renewal and Maintenance Funding: $100 million for IMR, an increase of $23 million compared to the previous year. The funding ensures school boards have resources to maintain a healthy and safe learning environment for students.
2014/2015 Funding Manual and Jurisdiction Funding Profiles
For more details on the 2014/2015 school year funding, please refer to the Funding Manual at www.education.alberta.ca/admin/funding/manual.aspx. Jurisdictions’ estimated funding information for the 2014/2015 school year is available online at www.education.alberta.ca/admin/funding/2014jurisdictionfunding.aspx.
2014-17 Business Plan
Along with Budget 2014, Education has released its 2014-17 Business Plan. You can view it online at http://education.alberta.ca/department/businessplans.aspx.