With the K-12 school year coming to an end, Education Minister David Eggen issued the following statement highlighting several accomplishments made by government throughout the year:
“I’m very proud of the work we did to continue to improve the education system during the 2017-18 school year. By reducing school fees for the beginning of the school year, parents of nearly 600,000 students across the province saved more than $50 million.
“Alberta students are receiving more individual attention and a better classroom experience as our Classroom Improvement Fund provided funding for more than 400 new teaching and support staff positions this school year. The grant has been such a success that it will continue for the next school year.
“Last fall, we also passed legislation to ensure students can form gay-straight alliances without fear of being outed. Our government is committed to ensuring all students in Alberta feel safe, welcome and cared for. We understand that in today’s Alberta it matters how we treat each other – especially the most vulnerable.
“Through Budget 2018, our government maintained its protection of the vital public services that Albertans rely on. This is why we funded enrolment growth in the K-12 education system for the fourth straight budget. Our commitment to fund enrolment will mean 1,000 teachers and support staff can be hired for the coming school year. Since 2015, more than 3,600 teaching and support staff positions have been created by increased funding for enrolment each year.
“Over the course of the school year, we announced 23 new school projects – including new schools, replacement schools and modernizations. We believe that building new and modernized schools is one of the most important investments we can make for the future of our children and the future of Alberta. We’re currently taking part in the largest infrastructure build in Alberta’s history which includes funding for hundreds of new schools that have either been built or are currently under construction. Our continued investment in school projects also promotes growth and employment opportunities in communities across Alberta.
“In June 2018, I was honoured to participate in a ceremony to mark the signing of a provincial education framework agreement between the four Maskwacis Cree Nations and the Government of Alberta. The agreement will ensure new and enhanced education funding to strengthen the new Maskwacis school system and improve student outcomes.
“I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken to ensure school superintendent compensation is fair and reasonable. These changes ensure superintendent compensation aligns with executive pay in Alberta’s other public sector agencies, boards and commissions. The new compensation framework also ensures public funds will be put where they can do the most good for Alberta’s students.
“I was also pleased to release Alberta’s Taking Action Against Racism Report earlier this week. We plan to support educators to help them teach about racism. The new curriculum will give students more opportunities to discuss citizenship and diversity – in all grades and across subjects.
“This is just a small sample of the work and many accomplishments made this school year to improve the education system. Every accomplishment has been taken with the aim of supporting our students on their path to success. Moving forward, we will continue to do our best to improve the education system with the invaluable contributions of our education partners, including students, parents, teachers, administrators and trustees.”