October 4, 2023

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Alberta’s training funds options new colleges and replacements, first constitution college hub

Alberta’s training funds options new colleges and replacements, first constitution college hub

Alberta’s proposed 2023 funds will fund the development of 13 college initiatives and create the province’s first constitution college hub in Calgary, the training minister says.

Minister Adriana LaGrange on Wednesday revealed an inventory of 58 initiatives throughout the province that may obtain development funding, design funding, or some preliminary cash to start out planning.

Among the many college initiatives green-lighted to construct are a brand new francophone secondary college in Airdrie, a brand new Ok-9 college in Edmonton’s Edgemont neighbourhood, modernization of Calgary’s John G. Diefenbaker Excessive Faculty and a brand new highschool in Raymond.

“We’re securing younger Albertans’ and their households’ future by investing in new colleges and modernized house, in order that college students, households and communities can profit for many years to come back,” LaGrange stated at a Calgary information convention.

The federal government can pay in future years to construct the colleges receiving design cash, LaGrange stated.

The Edgemont college in west Edmonton was Edmonton Public Faculties’ No. 2 precedence this 12 months. In first place was a brand new Grade 7-12 college for two,400 college students within the Glenridding space. That mission obtained design funds alone.

Faculty board chair Trisha Estabrooks stated Wednesday the necessity for extra highschool house is pressing. Projections recommend the division could have extra youngsters enrolled than highschool areas by 2027.

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Reporters interview Edmonton public college board chair Trisha Estabrooks after the tabling of Alberta’s 2023-24 funds on the legislature on Feb. 28, 2023. (Janet French/CBC)

Province’s first constitution hub

A information launch Wednesday says the funds — which the legislature should nonetheless debate and vote on — will spend $171 million on constitution college amenities through the subsequent three years.

A few of that funding is for what’s known as a constitution college hub — a facility the place a number of constitution colleges can run underneath one roof. The funds says it is going to accommodate as much as 2,000 college students.

Lisa Davis, who based science, expertise, engineering and math-focused constitution colleges in Edmonton and Calgary, stated the STEM Innovation Academy in Calgary is among the many charters hoping to work in such a hub.

Davis stated events are nonetheless engaged on a deal, and could not affirm a timeline or location.

New or rising colleges might share widespread gyms, labs, gear, and even some workers, she stated.

College students attending a hub college might additionally take courses provided by one of many different co-located colleges, she stated.

In an interview, LaGrange stated discovering satisfactory college house is without doubt one of the largest challenges new constitution colleges face. They typically lease older, surplus colleges from public, Catholic and francophone divisions.

Davis stated the hubs might make it simpler for new constitution colleges to get going.

“I can guarantee you it is fairly intensive to start out a brand new college,” Davis stated.

The United Conservative Occasion authorities’s efforts to increase the constitution system has critics, who say they should not be a precedence whereas funding to public, Catholic and francophone colleges has not stored tempo with enrolment progress and inflation.

For the reason that authorities lifted the provincial cap on charters, the 13 pre-existing charters have grown to 19 organizations that function 34 colleges.

LaGrange stated the federal government earmarked cash for constitution colleges as a result of house constraints have left round 20,000 college students on the ready lists.

Faculty funding freeze thaws

Public training advocates are warming to the funds’s proposed 4.2 per cent hike to the Ok-12 training funds.

EPSB chair Estabrooks stated it has been a frozen funds that has lastly thawed.

“The place was this three years in the past once we wanted it?” she stated on Tuesday on the legislature. “The place was this, when Edmonton public is constant to develop at such a speedy charge?”

Though the training minister says college enrolments dipped throughout Alberta through the first two years of the pandemic, and he or she didn’t cut back funding, colleges didn’t uniformly expertise that pattern.

The proposed $8.8-billion training funds features a enhance to every college authority’s base working grant and a ten per cent enhance to the grant that helps college students with distinctive wants, reminiscent of these with disabilities or English language learners.

The federal government will enhance funding to the college diet program by 20 per cent to account for rising meals prices.

There may be additionally an additional $42 million per 12 months provincewide to assist colleges deal with courses that embrace college students with more and more various wants.

The federal government can also be altering how college transportation is funded.

Following suggestions from a job pressure, as of fall 2024, colleges will be required to supply busing to elementary college students who reside multiple kilometre from college, and older college students who’re at the least two kilometres away. At present, they solely obtain provincial funding to bus college students who reside 2.4 km away.

Additionally new is funding for busing to different college packages, and $12.5 million for personal college busing and a gas contingency. Non-public college transportation is funded at 70 per cent of the speed that public colleges obtain.

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Alberta Lecturers’ Affiliation president Jason Schilling says academics might really feel cynical after they see new investments in Ok-12 training simply months forward of a provincial election. (Janet French/CBC )

Alberta Lecturers’ Affiliation president Jason Schilling stated extra funding for rising enrolment and complicated school rooms is an effective begin.

“Lecturers will take a look at this funds with an air of cynicism. And I do not blame them by any means, as a result of I do as nicely. I do know that that is an election 12 months,” Schilling stated of the Could 29 fastened election date.

He pointed to StatsCan knowledge on provincial training funding and scholar enrolment that means Alberta college students obtained the least funding per capita of the ten provinces in 2019-20.