Alberta will act briskly to get COVID cash to schools

Alberta will act briskly to get COVID cash to schools

$262 million has been earmarked for educational upgrades due to COVID-19

The province says it will move quickly to distribute nearly $262 million in funds for schools provided by the federal government.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange made the announcement Wednesday, saying the funds will be released in two phases, the first of which is expected to be this month. The remaining money will be transferred later in the school year.

LaGrange said the funding will be distributed on a per-student basis, and the majority of the funds — $250 million — will be passed on to school authorities.

The money must be used to support additional COVID related costs in one or more the following areas: staffing, adapting learning spaces, personal protective equipment, cleaning and safety considerations for schools and busses, supports for special needs students and online learning and teacher training.

The remaining $12 million will be dedicated to supporting school authorities that are experiencing a large influx in enrolment due to demand for online or distance learning programs.

“I believe this approach is the fairest and the most equitable way to disperse the funding,” LaGrange said, adding she’s directed her department to make sure the money flows to school boards quickly.

Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling was happy the federal and provincial governments recognized the financial strain on schools. He added the association has already outlined seven priorities to improve classroom safety.

“Funding should be focused on significant staffing needs,” he said.

“More teachers are needed to reduce class sizes, substitute teachers need to be available and need to be supported and protected.

“Custodians are needed to ensure that ongoing sanitization occurs throughout the school day and more EAs are needed to help students with learning needs and hygiene.

“Teachers want schools to stay open, so we have to make sure the return to school is done as safely as possible.”

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman said Wednesday’s announcement wasn’t entirely helpful, because many school boards have already passed enrolment deadlines.

“Today, tens of thousands of parents waved goodbye to their kids as they dropped them off in over-crowded classrooms,” said Hoffman.

LaGrange called the NDP plan to reduce class sizes by half and add more teachers impractical.

“I do want to reiterate that the plan that was put forward by the NDP is unrealistic,” she said.

“We do not have a pool of tens of thousands of teachers out there waiting to be hired, nor do we have 800 new schools, which would be required to reduce our class sizes in half.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed eight additional virus-deaths Monday afternoon including one in central zone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New record: Red Deer at 236 active COVID cases

One more death in central zone reported

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

Sylvan Lake RCMP Detachment. Photo Courtesy of Google Maps
Sylvan Lake RCMP address three key areas of resident concern

RCMP were notified of these main areas of concern through an online Town Hall

Alberta had 1,571 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta’s central zone now has 1,101 active COVID-19 cases

Provincial death toll has risen by nine

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Rock Soup Craig Haavalsen is sleeping in a tent outside Rock Soup’s location until the Go Fund Me for Rock Soup raises $10,000. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Putting normalcy into asking for help: New non-profit sets up in Wetaskiwin

Rock Soup non-profit is a new non-secular Food Bank putting down roots in Wetaskiwin.

Wetaskiwin Composite High School. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools prepare for transition back to online learning

Grades 7-12 will are mandated to transfer to online learning starting Nov. 30, 2020.

Lawyer Devon Page, Ecojustice Canada’s executive director, pauses during a news conference in Vancouver on Wed., Sept. 26, 2012. The environmental law group has lost its bid to pause Alberta’s inquiry into where critics of its oil and gas industry get their funding. Ecojustice sought an injunction this summer to suspend the inquiry, headed by forensic accountant Steve Allan, until there is a decision on whether it’s legal. nbsp;THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Judge tosses application to pause Alberta inquiry into funding of oil and gas foes

Ecojustice sought an injunction in the summer to suspend the inquiry

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Most Read