Alberta education spending far outstrips enrolment growth: Fraser Institute study

In Alberta, public schools have seen funding increase by more than 70 per cent over the 10 years to 2014, while enrolment grew by only 11 per cent, a report by the Fraser Institute think-tank said.

Per student spending up 25% to almost $13,400 per year

Per-student spending in Alberta public schools has increased by 25 per cent over the past decade, according to the Fraser Institute study. (CBC)

More money is being spent on education in Alberta than required to account for enrolment changes and inflation, according to the Fraser Institute.

Alberta public schools have seen funding increase by more than 70 per cent over the 10 years to 2014 — the largest rise in the country, the think-tank said in its 2016 education spending report.

At the same time, enrolment grew by only 11 per cent, it added.

Total spending on Alberta public schools increased from $4.8 billion in 2004/2005 to more than $8 billion in 2013/2014, according to the most recent Statistics Canada data, the study said.

"Contrary to what we hear from teachers, administrators and trustees, public school systems in Canada have received large increases in funding over the last decade," said Fraser spokesperson Deani Van Pelt.

If Alberta had tied enrolment to education spending in 2013, the province could have saved $1.7 billion that year alone, said Van Pelt, who co-authored the report.

Van Pelt says there have been real increases in per-student education spending in schools across the country, including 25.4 per cent in Alberta over the ten-year study period.

Spending per-student in Alberta went from $10,669 in 2004/2005 to $13,378 in 2013/2014, adjusted for price changes, the study said.

"So we can move into a time of constraint and it can have a dramatic impact on our deficits," Van Pelt said.