Alberta announces funding to help schools cope with enrollment growth

The province announced Tuesday it’s investing $30 million to help schools keep up with enrollment growth in the 2023/24 school year.

Minister of Education Demetrios Nicolaides says the higher than expected hike in student enrollment comes with a robust economy.

“The Alberta advantage is back and booming,” he said. “Our economy is stronger than ever with new investments pouring into our province and people from around the world are flocking to our amazing province once again.

“While that growth has been great for the provincial economy, it has also resulted in an unprecedented number of new students entering Alberta’s education system.”

School authorities will receive $1,500 per student for growth between zero and 100 students, and growth exceeding 100 will see funding of $2,000.

Laura Hack, Calgary Board of Education chair, says it has seen an enrollment increase of about 4.6 per cent from September 2022 to September 2023.

Marilyn Dennis, president of the Alberta School Boards Association, says the new dollars will help address the “historic enrollment growth” and means more teachers can be hired along with student support staff.

The organization Support Our Students says the UCP’s “small” funding injection does little after too many years of steep education cuts, creating the current “severely strained system.”

The group is also calling on the government to restore class size reporting.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association commends the funding, but says it falls far short of what’s required to make the system better, and President Jason Schilling says the announcement “does not even stop the situation from getting worse.”

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