On Saturday, March 28, 2020 Alberta’s Education Minister announced funding reductions for school boards that would result in temporary layoffs for numerous support staff positions.
This announcement weighed heavily on the Board of Trustees and Senior Administration as we value each and every employee and their contributions to the Livingstone Range School Division culture and ability to deliver quality education to our students.
Since Saturday, the Board and Senior Administration have been working hard and have put in many hours, as we considered all options.
After gaining a better understanding of the 14% (support staff) and 51% (transportation) reductions announced by Alberta Education and the impact this funding reduction has on the school division, we are pleased to share some good news.
We determined that we had significant savings in two major areas: 1) substitute teacher costs that were budgeted for but would no longer be required for the remainder of the school year; 2) busing fuel costs, bus driver salaries, and bus maintenance and repairs. Because our jurisdiction covers a large geographic area, the savings of not requiring bus transportation is significant. Although we greatly value the contributions of our substitute teachers and bus drivers, neither of these areas are essential in the new model of at-home programming for students, and therefore offer a way to reduce our budget with minimal staff impact.
In addition, the Board of Trustees has committed to redirecting their remaining Professional Development costs and operational savings to offset any impact on staffing reductions for the remainder of the school year.
All our staff are important and valued and each person contributes in meaningful ways to the education of the whole child. Immediately following the March 28th announcement, we moved forward with the goal to keep as many of our staff as possible employed for as long as possible. As a Board and Senior Administration, we feel very fortunate that our particular circumstances allow us to redirect budget money in order to maintain staff, knowing this is not the case for other jurisdictions and certainly not for other sectors of the economy. For now, we are pleased to have found a way to meet our budget reduction directive with minimal staff impact. Should further changes to funding occur, we will revisit our budget at that time.
Chair, Board of Trustees