Calgary public school board passes budget with $21M from 'rainy day' funds
Budget passed with 5 votes for it, 2 against
The chair of the Calgary public school board says it's likely that trustees will face difficult decisions again in next year's budget.
The Calgary Board of Education passed this year's budget by a vote of 5-2, with Trina Hurdman and Sheila Taylor voting against it.
The budget includes fee increases for parents for transportation, supplies and noon-hour supervision.
Taylor, the board chair, says the future looks tough without more provincial funding.
“I think that next year there'll be another difficult conversation that will happen. We made the decision to take $21 million out of our reserves — our rainy day fund, you could say," she said.
"That was a really extraordinary decision that we made; we haven't done that before."
Taylor said she and other trustees worry about how the fees will affect families.
“I think different school boards do absolutely have different approaches to school fees. But, you know, one thing we've been saying very consistently is we would like to see better funding for our education system overall," she said.
"We've seen four straight years of decreases of overall funding per student.”
Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson released a statement late Tuesday saying that other school boards have balanced their budgets without raising fees this year.
"Alberta has the best-funded education system in Canada," the statement reads in part.
"Decisions concerning user fees are local decisions made entirely by elected school trustees. We respect the autonomy of local school boards and recognize that they make decisions in the best interest of their communities."
With files from the CBC's Nadia Stewart