The Government of Alberta says staffing projections show that up to 1,600 more teachers and support staff will be hired in the upcoming school year.
“I’m thrilled to see more teachers and educational assistants will be hired in the coming school year. Alberta’s school board reserve policy has played an important role in directing today’s education dollars towards today’s students,” Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.
School authorities are projecting up to 800 more teachers and principals will be hired in the upcoming school year. This represents an increase of 2.2 per cent from the certificated staff in the 2021/22 school year and means more teachers in the classroom supporting Alberta’s students.
Additionally, an increase of approximately 800 support staff is also expected. This includes classroom-based educational and teacher assistants and represents an increase of 3.1 per cent from the previous school year.
The Alberta Government is also providing an additional $50 million in 2022-2023 to cover recently ratified bargaining agreements with teachers.
However, the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) says the extra support is not quite enough.
“While the spending to restore positions that were lost during the pandemic is welcome news, drawing down school board savings to accomplish this is a temporary stop-gap approach and is not available to every board. It simply cannot be sustained over the long term.
“The greater challenge for the province’s school boards will be finding the dollars they need to respond to the general cost increases that are affecting all of us. I frankly doubt that the funding increase announced today will be adequate,” said ATA President, Jason Schilling in a release.
Although the newly ratified agreement means a modest increase in pay for teachers, Schilling says the increase is below the current inflation. The ATA also argues that Alberta ranks dead last among the provinces in per-student expenditures.
“Successive Alberta governments have allowed funding for education to erode, forcing teachers, education workers and parents to pick up the slack. We cannot continue to slap band-aids on the cuts and then declare that the problem is solved.
“This is an issue that must be meaningfully addressed by the new premier in October and by the various parties as the province moves toward the general election in May 2023,” added Schilling.