Province may not deliver on new education funding

Alberta Premier Alison Redford says the province's fiscal reality has changed but wouldn't confirm she will have to break any promises when it comes to new education funding.

Premier Alison Redford pledged to increase education grant funding in the spring of 2012

Province warned Alberta school boards that expected funding increases may not happen. 1:16

Alberta's education minister warned school boards at a private meeting in Calgary on Tuesday night that the government may not be able to deliver on its promise for new education funding.

In the spring of 2012, Premier Alison Redford pledged to increase education grant funding by one per cent next year, and two per cent in the second and third years.

Redford said in a year-end interview with CBC News Calgary that Alberta's fiscal reality has changed but she wouldn't confirm if the province will have to break any funding promises.

Warning from Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson comes as school boards enter negotiations with teachers. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

"I am sure that as we move forward that the opposition, whose job is to oppose, will say those sorts of things," she said. 

"But on the other hand, we've got to look on how we balance priorities to make sure that we are providing the best possible opportunities for kids and I think we will be able to do that."

On Tuesday night, Education Minister Jeff Johnson told representatives from 62 school boards that money is tight.

The government's message comes as school boards across the province are entering contract talks with the teachers' union.

"This is going to be interesting for us and challenging," said Jacquie Hansen, president of the Alberta School Boards Association.

The Alberta Teachers' Association walked away from province-wide talks with the Alberta government last week.

That led to the government's decision to hand contract talks back to individual school boards.