Prairie Land Regional School Division (PLRD) is looking at shaving nine teaching positions as it faces a $1.5 million shortfall over the next two years.
“We are looking at a $1.5 million shortfall as of the budget that came down on February 24,” said Roy. “That is going to be the net effect. In the first year, our funding was reduced by $800,000, just under 4 per cent. Once the other 50 per cent of our stabilization grant is removed in the following year, we are looking at losing another $700,000 there.”
He said the adjustment would still fall in line with more appropriate staffing levels.
“If you look at the 2005-2006 school year up until now, 192 students have left our system.
As far as staffing goes, we have actually increased our staffing levels by 1.8 FTE (full time equivalent),” he said. “What we have done is use the Alberta Learning Commission guidelines for class size to realign staffing down to those levels.”
He said they have been holding meetings in schools throughout the division to inform communities of the changes.
“That is what these meetings are about, because some of these schools will be losing one or two individuals they are accustomed to,” he said.
Roy said this adds up to nine teaching positions and some support staff. He said they might be able to realize the reduction through attrition.
“In some of the schools that have been identified as losing staff, some retirements have come up, so a lot of it is through attrition, so that is good. For schools that are not able to do that, we think we will be able to realign staffing to another location. We are hoping that when the smoke clears everybody within our system should be accommodated,” he said.
He is confident the Alberta government understands their struggle. Members of the board and administration met with the Minister of Education and MLA Jack Hayden.
“They did indicate they would be working with us on these issues, and hopefully something down the road will return to our benefit,” he said. “I know we’ve indicated to the government we would be able to handle the decrease in funding for this coming year, but if we are faced with another $700,000 shortfall, we are not going to be able to accommodate that because our quality of education would be affected on the negative side.”