The provincial government released Budget 2021 on February 25, 2021. Here are some of the key points regarding the announcement, affecting Wild Rose School Division:
How did the provincial budget impact our division budget?
Through Budget 2021, Alberta’s government continues to support the school system. The 2020-21 school year introduced the new Funding and Assurance Model, which uses the weighted moving average (WMA) to smooth funding when there are fluctuations in enrollment. The predictability of funding using the WMA approach has provided the needed stability in the 2020-21 school year during the COVID-19 pandemic, as no funding adjustments were made due to the anomalous enrollment decline that occurred. Based on this announcement, Alberta Education has confirmed that all school boards will receive, at minimum, the same funds received in the current (2020-21) school year. This is good news for our division, as fewer students were enrolled in 2020-21 than projected.
What’s happening with Curriculum?
Starting in 2021, government and education partners will implement the largest curriculum renewal project in Alberta’s history. Renewing the provincial curriculum involves drafting and classroom validation prior to the province-wide implementation. The division will not be participating in piloting the new curriculum, but will need to use time and resources throughout the 2021-22 school year to prepare for the changes to the curriculum.
What are the next steps?
WRSD will receive its funding allocation for the 2021-22 school year from Alberta Education by March 31, 2021. The Board will begin to discuss the budget implications at their Finance Committee meeting in mid March and then again at their second meeting in mid April. Once senior administration has presented some options to the Board, they will decide how to move forward.
WRSD’s budget submission is due to Alberta Education by the end of May.
What is anticipated for the 2021-22 budget?
Much like our own personal budgets, there will always be more needs / wants than funds and difficult decisions will be required. Senior administration and the Board will take into account all divisional priorities and will continue to provide a powerful learning environment for all students. However, overall, this looks to be a positive budget announcement for school divisions.