Calgary Board of Education budget cuts to affect students

Calgary's public school board says it's going to have to make cuts as a result of the provincial budget that will have a negative impact on students and their parents.

Schools will have 2% less funding than needed, says pubic school board

The Calgary Board of Education says tough budget choices are ahead of them after the recent provincial budget. 5:11

Calgary's public school board says it's going to have to make cuts as a result of the provincial budget released in March.

The CBE says the budget's negative impact will be felt by students and their parents.

"As we have reported to you before, the provincial budget means our system will have the same revenue next year as we had this year," Naomi Johnson, chief superintendent of schools, in a release. 

"This happens when we expect to welcome 3,000 more students and our costs will be increasing. It is the tip of a very difficult iceberg."

In a budget assumption document to be discussed by trustees tomorrow, it says schools will have two per cent less funding than they need to keep up with increasing costs and enrolment.

"Two years ago we faced a $61.7-million shortfall once we worked through the full impact of the provincial budget," said Johnson. 

"To balance our budget we made significant changes, redesigned central services and said goodbye to good people. This year, all told, we face a shortfall of $62 million. Cutting deeply again will be even more painful. Once again we will lose good people."

Administrative cuts coming

The board of education says it is cutting $5 million in administrative costs.

In March, concerns were raised about proposed pay hikes for CBE staff so officials announced top administrators will not be getting a pay hike.

That counts for roughly 10 members of the senior team, who will have their salaries frozen, but roughly 210 non-unionized and exempt employees are still eligible for salary increases or bonuses if their supervisor believes it is warranted.

"We started looking everywhere to make cuts, there will be significant cuts in administration," said CBE spokesperson Richard Peter. "Because cuts made outside of classroom means more money can be directed to classrooms, and that has been one of our key values as we approach building the budget for 2013-14."

But he says even the administrative cuts will have an impact. 

"There are services that our schools depend on to take care of what goes on in the schools or to serve their parents, to process fees," said Peter. "And so we will find some of the services aren't there next year — some of them are slower — there will be differences, but you can't make these kind of cuts without there being an impact on service."

The budget will not be finalized until after it is debated by school trustees on May 28, but CBE officials say in the end it will be up to school principals to decide where cuts can be made.