Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future with historic investments in education to match increasing enrolment in schools, meet the needs of diverse students and increase affordability.
Alberta’s government is committed to providing the support and services students need to succeed, and the resources schools need to support teachers and their staff. Budget 2023 increases the operating budget for the Ministry of Education by nearly $2 billion over the next three years. This will support hiring up to 3,000 education staff, including teachers, educational assistants, bus drivers and school support staff.
In the 2023-24 school year, Alberta will spend about $8.8 billion on education for students in kindergarten to Grade 12, the equivalent of $44 million for every day students are in school and an increase of more than five per cent.
“School authorities in Alberta deserve a government that will support them in addressing this year’s unprecedented enrolment growth, be properly resourced to address complex learning needs, and make transportation safer and more affordable. This investment addresses rising enrolment, helps meet students’ diverse needs and helps school authorities combat inflation.”
“Our children are our future and Budget 2023 ensures every child is supported in the classroom. By investing in our education system, we are ensuring students are prepared for success throughout their lives. While inflation continues to be a challenge, we are providing stable, predictable funding so school authorities can hire the staff they need to help students learn.”
Welcoming more students
Alberta’s booming economy led to one of its largest-ever population increases in 2022, which has meant more students in Alberta schools. Budget 2023 will provide increased funding to school authorities of $820 million specifically to support enrolment growth over the next three years.
This increased funding will begin the work to address class sizes by allowing school authorities to hire more teachers and classroom staff over the next three years. The increase will come through a variety of existing grants that include an enrolment component.
“Dozens of school projects are in the planning, design or construction phases right now across Alberta. Through Budget 2023, we’ll be adding approximately 20,000 more new and modernized student spaces that will help to ensure our kids get to go to school in their own communities in world-class facilities.”
Meeting students’ unique needs
Budget 2023 includes almost $1.5 billion in Learning Support funding for Alberta’s most vulnerable students, those with specialized learning needs and those requiring additional help at school. This includes specialized learning supports, program unit funding, English as a second language, refugee students, First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
On top of the funding increase for enrolment growth, Budget 2023 also includes targeted funding of $126 million over three years to increase staffing. This funding will allow school authorities to hire more educational assistants or increase their hours, provide more training opportunities for staff and/or hire specialists such as counsellors, psychologists, interpreters and more teachers.
These additional supports will give schools the ability to work more closely with students who have diverse learning needs, such as those with disabilities or those learning English as an additional language. This new funding will be delivered through a new targeted grant to school authorities. Overall, Budget 2023 includes almost $1.5 billion in Learning Support funding for Alberta’s most vulnerable students, those with specialized learning needs and those requiring additional help at school.
To help close learning gaps caused by the pandemic, Alberta’s government will spend an additional $20 million over the next two years to assist students in grades 1 to 5. This increased funding builds off previous successes to help students regain literacy and numeracy skills.
Increasing affordability for transportation
School authorities will also receive an additional $414 million over the next three years through Budget 2023 to support increased transportation funding that will result in more students having access to provincially funded transportation services. This increased funding will lower fees charged to thousands of parents, address rural ride times and cost pressures, and address rising costs for driver training.
Budget 2023 highlights
- Budget 2023 will increase staffing supports in complex classrooms by up to 10 per cent, which will enhance experiences and have positive effects on students’ personal and social development.
- The government is investing $50 million to support mental health pilot projects over the next two years to improve K-12 students’ well-being.
- Rising inflationary pressures are affecting school authorities and families. Budget 2023 will boost transportation funding to offset rising transportation costs like insurance, fuel and driver training. These costs are often passed on to Alberta families, so increasing the amount of funding available will decrease the parent fees associated with school transportation.
Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, keeping our communities safe, and growing the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.