Premier Jim Prentice took a few minutes to speak about education, his recent change to charitable donations and his budget while visiting Rimbey, last Tuesday.
He denied claims made at a political forum held Monday in Rimbey that school boards are to have their reserves frozen as well as reduce their front line costs.
The claims that reserves were to be frozen could have come from education minister’s Gordon Dirks earlier comments that school boards needed permission to access their reserves.
However, trustees from several school boards in the province spoke out against that decision and Dirks has since reversed his remarks.
“We have asked boards to work together with the ministry,” said Prentice, adding reserves can be used as needed. In their budget, the province increased overall funding for Kindergarten to Grade 12 by two per cent, however, expected boards to reduce non-teaching costs by 2.7 per cent.
Prentice noted capital projects are ongoing.
“We have 200 school projects going on,” said Prentice. “We want to get the schools built.”
He also denied the Wildrose party’s allegations that the budget shows taxes going up by $2,500 for the average family.
He said taxes for a family of four with an average income will see an increase of $281.
“That’s less than a dollar a day.”
The premier confirmed that he has reconsidered the reduction to the charitable donation tax credit in the budget and it will maintain the previous rate.
“We listened to Albertans and agree it is not the right time to make the change. “But hearing from Albertans during this campaign, it’s become clear that this choice was more than simply unpopular. Rather, Albertans have told me it was seen as contrary to our values as Albertans – values of generosity, community, and looking out for one another,” he said, in a press release.