Solution Needed for Alberta Schools Shortchanged by Feds on Funding for Student Refugees: Wildrose

EDMONTON, AB): Both the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) received confirmation today from federal bureaucrats that no funding will be provided for the influx of Syrian refugees in the two school systems, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.

In March of this year both the CBE and the EPSB asked for funding from the federal government to accommodate the hundreds of student refugees who are now a part of the Alberta school system.

“The federal Liberal government promised Albertans, parents and teachers the funds would be there to not only take care of new refugees but ensure our school boards would not have to take further resources out of our classrooms,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “The number of new students in the system is roughly the same as opening a brand new elementary school where all students are grappling with living in a new country, ESL, and trauma from what they have been through. It is simply unacceptable that the Liberal government is failing to take responsibility to pay for the level of care these students need.”

The CBE has had to resort to cost-cutting measures to afford to provide the appropriate level of care to the refugee students –  increasing class sizes, making changes to infrastructure maintenance, and more in order to pay the more the $2 million extra to accommodate these students.

Wildrose Shadow Education Minister Mark Smith said the NDP government must pressure the federal government so our education system isn’t being left shortchanged.

“It is up to the NDP government here in Alberta to stand up for our school boards, and ensure that the federal government doesn’t drop the ball for these students, and our school system,” Smith said. “We need to be able to support our new refugee students without forcing our boards to remove funding elsewhere.”