Stable education funding enhances equity, growth and parental choice in K-12 education.
Maintaining and increasing funding to school authorities
Through Budget 2022, the government’s commitment to funding education remains strong, as operating support to the education system will increase by more than $700 million over the next three years.
Operational funding allocations for all school authorities will be the same or higher in the coming school year compared with the current school year. Despite lower than expected enrolments and growing school board reserves, Alberta’s government is maintaining funding to the education system and adding funding for pandemic-related cost pressures and additional supports.
“Delivering a wide range of education choice to families remains a key priority for Alberta’s government. By ensuring all choices are well-funded, parents can select the type of education they feel will help their child reach their full potential. No matter what choice they make, parents can be confident their child is getting a world-class, high-quality education.”
Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education
To support growth in the education system, new school authorities will now be given financial assistance when starting up.
To ensure school authorities are funded for growth, if eligible under the criteria outlined in the education funding manual, new schools opened by existing school authorities will be funded at their actual enrolment for the first three years instead of the weighted moving average. This change applies to all public, separate, francophone, public charter and independent school authorities and will better support growth of new schools, sites, and programs.
“The College of Alberta School Superintendents is appreciative of the province’s commitment to school authorities receiving the same or more operational funding compared to the 2021-22 school year. Today’s release of the funding manual provides clarity and specificity and allows school authorities to proceed with their budgetary process.”
Wilco Tymensen, president, College of Alberta School Superintendents
“We are very appreciative of the ‘hold harmless’ funding for a second year in a row. The continued flexibility in the funding model to meet the needs of students strengthens boards’ local autonomy.”
Tahra Sabir, president, Alberta School Business Officials Association
“The Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta (AISCA) appreciates the government’s commitment to continued predictable funding. During these volatile times, the assurance that schools will receive at least equivalent operational funding in 2022-23 as they obtained in the current school year provides much-needed stability. We also appreciate and support the adjustments within the funding manual that address specific challenges facing new and growing school authorities. We look forward to our continued collaboration towards a robust, predictable, and flexible funding model that meets the needs of all students in Alberta.”
Simon Williams, president, Association of Independent Schools and Colleges of Alberta
The recently released funding manual for school authorities for the 2022-23 school year contains details on upcoming funding changes, including new school startup funding, expansion funding and equitable grant funding for public charter schools.
“The new funding manual changes continue the government’s progress toward providing fair funding support to all Alberta students and families. These changes reflect prudent and responsible shifts in the mechanisms supporting the allocation of operating funds to schools across the province. Ongoing revision and adjustment of the funding manual is a critical investment in young Albertans and their families, providing affordable, high-quality educational opportunities that help secure the future Albertans aspire to. Public charter schools are grateful for the government’s continuing support for education given the pressures facing Alberta. We are proud to contribute to education in Alberta. These changes will help us deliver on our commitments to Albertans.”
Ron Koper, chair, The Alberta Association of Public Charter Schools
Funding for students with specialized learning needs
Grant eligibility changes will ensure public charter schools receive the same funding support for students as other public school authorities. This includes equitable supports for students with disabilities and those who require specialized supports through the Specialized Learning Supports grant.
“As Alberta’s largest charter school, FFCA has long advocated for the fair and equitable treatment of Alberta’s public charter school students. The changes announced by the Government of Alberta represent a recognition that students in public charter schools experience the same academic struggles and mental health challenges as their peers in every public school across the province. FFCA applauds the Government of Alberta’s commitment to choice in education. We are thankful that parents will no longer be asked to choose between the school they want, and the one that has the funding to support their child’s unique needs.”
Jeff Wilson, board chair, Foundations for the Future Charter Academy
Alberta’s government is also investing $2 million over the next two years in supports for home education students and families, including resources, virtual parent learning sessions, evaluations and coordinated consultations with speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, behavioural and mental health therapists, and psychologists.
These new supports are intended to ensure that any student whose family has notified the government that they are home educating will have access to assessments and supports.
“AHEA is more than pleased that our advocacy has resulted in this move from zero-to-equal access to these special needs supports for the home education community. The government ensuring choice in education truly means that all children can address these challenges, regardless of their learning context. This is critical to the integrity of our education system, and speaks to our respect for each other as individuals with unique needs.”
Shawna Sundal, executive director, Alberta Home Education Association
Budget 2022 moves Alberta forward toward personal and economic prosperity by developing the talents and skills of Alberta’s workforce and providing opportunities for all Albertans to succeed and thrive.
- Education’s consolidated expense increases by $142 million and reaches $8.4 billion in 2022-23. This additional funding will ensure all school authorities can adequately manage enrolment growth, retain teachers and support staff, and address ongoing cost pressures.
- Operational funding to school authorities was not decreased despite 726,654 students being projected in 2021-22 and only 716,868 being enrolled.
- 2021-22 funded headcount enrolment for school authority systems information is posted online (Table 5).