Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange issued the following statement in response to the Calgary Board of Education’s staffing reductions:
“It was difficult to hear about the decision by the Calgary Board of Education to end the contracts of 300 temporary teachers – I sympathize with the education professionals, students and parents affected. Unfortunately, this is another example of this board’s inability to appropriately manage its finances and prioritize student learning in its operations.
“I have been extremely clear that I expect all boards to minimize impacts on front-line staff and teachers, and to prioritize the educational experience of our students. Alberta Education offered the Calgary Board of Education assistance in achieving this, assistance that the board refused.
“The Calgary Board of Education has a history of questionable, irresponsible decision-making when it comes to its finances. In 2010-11, the board trustees locked themselves into an expensive, 20-year lease in which they are paying more than it would cost them to purchase the building. In 2018, a provincial audit of the board found that it had made a $9.1-million accounting error, allocating office space costs as instructional costs.
“The reckless misuse of taxpayer dollars by this board cannot be allowed to continue. I will be ordering an independent financial audit of the Calgary Board of Education as well as a governance review. There is a clear pattern of mismanagement by this board that must be corrected.
“Albertans overwhelmingly elected our government to live within our means and get our finances in order. As a public body, the Calgary Board of Education has a responsibility to assist in this endeavour, while still providing its students with a world-class, high-quality education.
“This audit and governance review will give government a path forward on helping the Calgary Board of Education prioritize the classroom and find efficiencies elsewhere in its operations. There is no reason that a board with an operating budget of $1.2 billion servicing 130,000 students should be reducing teaching positions and harming our children’s education experience.”