Calgary

CBE lays off 1,900 in wake of pandemic budget cuts

The Calgary Board of Education has delivered layoff notices to approximately 1,900 part-time and full-time staff, but teaching assistants will be spared.

Province reduced funding to Alberta schools when students were told to stay home

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says all employees laid off during the pandemic will be rehired. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The Calgary Board of Education has delivered layoff notices to approximately 1,900 part-time and full-time staff, but teaching assistants will be spared.

Those cuts are the result of a $21-million reduction in its budget from the province, according to the board.

Those cuts were made when students were told to stay home as a result of the pandemic and caught school boards by surprise. 

"Before considering any staff reductions, CBE administration looked first at reducing other costs in the organization," it said in a news release Thursday.

"We found significant savings from dollars that will no longer be spent due to the cancellation of classes. School budgets were also decreased, and our central offices were able to reallocate funds from projects that have been stopped or delayed."

Affected positions

According to the CBE, those measures saved 1,000 jobs. It also notes that 880 teaching assistants will remain through to the end of June.

Those affected by the cuts include breakfast and lunch supervisors, cleaners, library assistants, career and technology instructors, psychologists, speech language pathologists and other administrative and support staff.

Contract employees, including substitute teachers, will not be laid off, but the board notes there will be limited work for those positions.

Approximately 1,030 of the cuts are to part-time staff, according to the CBE.

"The CBE has never had to contend with layoffs of this magnitude," reads a news release on the cuts.

"Each and every employee plays a valuable role in supporting our schools and students."

240 staff gone at Rocky View

The trustee board chair at Rocky View Schools says 240 support staff were laid off including about half of the learning assistants.

"These are temporary layoffs and staff will be recalled once schools are re-open and students return to classes," Fiona Gilbert told CBC News.

"The continuation of learning for students and supports for families remain our top priority."

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