Alberta government redirects school funding into COVID-19 response following class cancellations

The UCP has announced it will be redirecting $128 million dollars of funding initially slotted for K-12 schools in the province into Alberta’s COVID-19 response, following the cancellation of all classes on March 15.

The funding that’s being adjusted would have been used for transportation, substitute teachers and educational assistants, all of which is being reduced while in-person classes remain cancelled, a news release said Saturday.

“COVID-19 has changed both how we provide student learning, and the operational needs of the education system,” a statement from Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said.

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“I want to stress that this is a temporary arrangement as schools focus on at-home learning.”

The decision on what positions will be laid off or cut will be made by individual schools, said Colin Aitchison, the press secretary for the office of the minister of education. The UCP did not have an estimate of how many positions the funding changes would affect.

“School authorities will look at the specific funding impact to them, and then determine the best course of action,” he said in an emailed statement to Global News.

“Any staff who are affected by this temporary funding adjustment are encouraged to apply for the federal government’s enhanced employment insurance program, as well as other support programs for Canadian workers,” Aitchison said.

The UCP said that previous levels of funding will be restored once in-person classes resume.

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