Skip to main content

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange is seen in an April 30, 2019, file photo. A spokesman for LaGrange says the government is pleased the board is considering rescinding 317 layoff notices that were sent out last month.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

The Alberta government is moving ahead with a financial audit and governance review of the Calgary Board of Education even though it appears hundreds of teacher layoffs can be averted.

A spokesman for Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says the government is pleased the board is considering rescinding 317 layoff notices that were sent out last month.

But Colin Aitchison says the reversal is a clear example of the board’s failed attempt to use teachers and children’s education as political tools.

Story continues below advertisement

An agenda for a trustee meeting Tuesday includes an updated budget report that says a $15-million infrastructure and maintenance renewal grant can be repurposed to keep the temporary teacher jobs.

Those staff, who were weeks away from being out of work, will return to schools for the remainder of the school year.

The budget report says remaining funds can also be put toward easing fee increases and keeping transportation service levels.

“Had CBE taken Minister LaGrange up on her offer to have Alberta Education assist in finding efficiencies in their operating budget, we are certain that this could have been avoided in the first place,” Mr. Aitchison said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday.

“Instead, the board’s unnecessary actions caused significant stress on the families of the 317 teachers and their students.”

The public school board has said the United Conservative government’s inaugural budget left it with a $32-million budget gap that would mean cutting funds to 246 schools by $22-million.

Chief Superintendent Christopher Usih said the board had to act quickly because the budget was reduced midyear and several decisions are being made on how to cover the gap.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. LaGrange said at the time that she made it clear she expected all school boards to minimize the impact on front-line staff and teachers, and to put students’ educational experience first. She accused the board of a “reckless misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

“We are moving ahead with a financial and governance review of the CBE, and will have more information in the coming days,” Mr. Aitchison said Tuesday.

The board’s budget report says challenges remain.

“The CBE will continue to be constrained by climbing enrolment, lack of operating reserves, age of facilities and cuts to services provided by central service units in the 2019-20 budget year,” it said.

“Maximizing the dollars directed to the classroom to support student results remains the top priority.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies