Calgary

Cuts to public education wrong path, Calgary mother tells province

A Calgary mom is worried that this week's budget will mean more cuts to the public education system and she wants Alberta parents to speak out.

Barbara Silva helped create Support Our Students to send message to Alberta government

Barbara Silva, with Support Our Students, calls the cease and desist letters "heavy-handed." (CBC)

A Calgary mom is worried that this week's budget will mean more cuts to the public education system and she wants Alberta parents to speak out.

Barbara Silva and some other parents set up a website called Support Our Students (SOS) calling on concerned Albertans to send emails to their MLAs, the education minister and the premier.

“Our current goal is to send the government a message that we want to hold them accountable for its persistent and consistent failure to provide quality, safe and healthy education for its youngest residents,” she told the Calgary Eyeopener on Tuesday.

The SOS website says the number of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Alberta has risen since 2009 by over 46,000 while fewer than 10 new teaching positions have been created.

Silva says 85 per cent of Alberta schools already exceed the Alberta Commission on Learning’s recommendations for class sizes.

Spending cuts expected in Thursday’s budget could translate into even more crowded classrooms, Silva says.

“We hear anywhere from five to nine per cent cuts are in the making,” she said. That could result in the loss of 2,500 teaching positions, Silva says.

Premier Jim Prentice has said sacrifices will have to be made to address the roughly $7-billion revenue hole facing the Alberta government and he will be looking for co-operation and support from public sector unions.

Silva says a few hundred parents across Alberta have signed up on the SOS website.         

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