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School trustees should be worried about next provincial budget

Foothills School Division and Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools trustees are like other divisions, parents, and students and across the province in that they are having a few restless nights.

That’s because they don’t know what the framework is going to be for education funding until the provincial budget is released, which is expected to happen shortly after the legislative session starts on Feb. 25.

If recent history is any indication, trustees have a right to be concerned.

Both divisions had to tighten their purse strings when a budget was announced in October and fortunately neither had to impact the classrooms.

That might not be the case when the next budget  comes down. Education Minister Adriana LaGrange met with Foothills school trustees last week at Meadow Ridge School, and she, not surprisingly, kept the financial cards close to her vest.

However, she did say the funding would be predictable and school boards will have plenty of notice on how the funding works going into the 2020-21 school year.

That did little to alleviate the anxiety of Foothills chairman Larry Albrecht who stated the unknown of funding is downright scary.

Let’s face it, while it’s nice to be able to predict that you are about to lose a slice of your income and you have time to prepare for it, it’s not about to make life a whole lot easier.

At present, Foothills is working with stakeholders, both internally and externally — parents — to develop a strategy for the upcoming impact of changes to education funding.

Maybe education is like all of Alberta — it has to tighten the belt in these difficult financial times.

But much sooner than later, it will affect the classroom. And you don’t exactly have to be Kreskin to predict that outcome.