Federal school funding to be used for staff, increased enrollment, cleaning: LaGrange

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – The provincial government has announced what it will do with the $262 million in education funding from the federal government.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced $250 million of that money will be given to school authorities based on a per-student model for COVID-19 issues.

That includes money for staffing, adapted learning spaces, cleaning for schools and buses and funding for special needs supports and online learning.

The remaining $12 million will be used to help schools dealing with increased enrollment with online or distance learning.

LaGrange said the funding will be given immediately to schools as soon as the province receives it from the federal government.

She said it will be transferred in two phases: once this month and once later in the school year.

About $44.4 million of that funding will be given to the Calgary Board of Education while Edmonton’s public schools will receive just over $37 million.

Meanwhile, the Calgary and Edmonton Catholic school divisions will receive $20 million and $15 million respectively.

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The Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) said it would like to see the funding be put towards hiring more staff.

“More teachers are needed to reduce excessive class sizes and allow for greater physical distancing. Substitute teachers are needed and they need to be protected and supported,” said ATA President Jason Schilling.

Schilling added more custodial staff could also be hired with the money.

On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney said to cut class sizes in half would cost the province $4 billion, but the ATA says that is not what it’s asking for.

Schilling said they are just asking for the larger class sizes with 30 or more students to be reduced a little bit.

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