Calgary

Teachers' union worried as school year approaches amid budget uncertainty

The president of the Alberta Teachers Association says some school boards are holding off on replacing retiring teachers or renewing temporary contracts.

ATA president says schools need clarity to hire appropriately

The head of the Alberta Teachers Association says school boards need more clarity around budgets this close to the school year. (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

The president of the Alberta Teachers Association say there's too much uncertainty about what classrooms will look like this fall.

Jason Schilling says some school boards are holding off on replacing retiring teachers or renewing temporary contracts.

The Alberta budget isn't expected until the end of October when the school year is well under way.

"If you teach high school like I do, you're already almost halfway through the semester and so it's hard for school boards and schools to make changes to classroom structures that late into the game."

Teachers are concerned that they might have more students, some of whom might have complex needs.

"We've had issues with class sizes in the past and the lack of clarity around the budget," he said.

"Especially, you know, they've made an announcement that they would fund for growth in the legislature …. but they've not actually given any direct information to school boards or to teachers on what that funding for growth will look like. So that does concern teachers about what their class composition will look like."

Schilling also worries that teachers who haven't got a contract yet might look for work elsewhere, and it may be difficult for boards to hire teachers part way through the school year.

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