Some significant funding reductions for local school districts after the province decided to temporarily cut funding for K-12 education to reflect the cost of at-home learning during COVID-19.
On Friday (Apr. 3), the Holy Spirit Division says it’s laying off 181 staff with a budget reduction of just under $1 million.
“To meet the timelines and estimated funding reductions targeted by Alberta Education, while still adhering to the Collective Agreements that govern employee relations with the majority of our support staff,” explains Superintendent Ken Sampson. “We had to act quickly to notify impacted staff of their lay-off with 30 days notice, which was on March 31, 2020.”
The Lethbridge School Division though hasn’t given an exact number of school staff who are being given temporary pink slips, only saying this has resulted in a $1.5 million reduction in their budget.
“We are examining every aspect of our budget, and we will soon have final numbers in terms of staff we are able to retain,” says Cheryl Gilmore, Superintendent of the Lethbridge School Division. She says work continues to ensure job losses are as minimal as possible. “We continue to look for cost savings and efficiencies throughout the entire system.”
The two divisions say adjustments have been made locally with the goal of maximizing student learning while in-person classes are cancelled. Both Holy Spirit and the Lethbridge School Division say these adjustments have also resulted a big impact on their reserve accounts.
Those given layoffs notices include educational assistants, library workers, career practitioners, administrative support, FNMI liaisons, and advanced educational assistants just to name a few.
Alberta’s UCP government says the funding will be restored when normal classes resume.