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Province completely revamps funding for K-12 education – Adriana LaGrange announcement


12 minute read

From the Province of Alberta

Transforming K-12 education funding

A new way to fund Alberta’s K-12 education system will drive more dollars to the classroom where they can deliver the best outcomes for students.

The new model streamlines operations and directs more dollars to each school division. In the 2020-21 school year, every single division will see an increase in operational funding.

The model also provides more predictability in funding by changing from one-year enrolment counts to a moving three-year average, minimizing the need for mid-year adjustments to school budgets. The move will help school divisions plan their finances well in advance of the start of the school year.

“Alberta will continue to have one of the best-funded education systems in the country. This new model will drive more money to our school divisions for use in the classroom and provides them with the flexibility they need to meet the unique needs of their students. These changes will ensure our divisions continue to be equipped to provide our students with a world-class, high quality education.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

The new model also reduces red tape and gives more flexibility to school divisions to determine how to best invest taxpayer dollars. By simplifying the number of grants to 15 from the current 36, while still maintaining education funding, school divisions will have reduced reporting obligations and more leeway to direct funding to support the needs of students.

“This government is committed to cutting unnecessary red tape by one-third to reduce costs, speed up approvals and make life better for Albertans. I am thrilled that we are updating and streamlining the K-12 funding model, while maintaining robust measures to ensure money is being directed to the classroom. School boards can now spend less time on unnecessary reporting and administration work and more time focusing on students.”

Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction

Highlights of the new model include:

  • Ensuring funds are directed to classrooms by providing a targeted grant for system administration, instead of a percentage of overall funding. This will standardize administrative and governance spending to within a reasonable range and maximize dollars intended for classrooms. The new model will also simplify grants to reduce red-tape for school authorities.
  • Protecting our most vulnerable students by providing funding intended to support specialized learning needs or groups of students who may require additional supports from school authorities, including Program Unit Funding, funding for English as a Second Language students, French as a Second Language students, refugee students and First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.
  • Better managing system growth, specifically enrolment growth and associated costs. Instead of funding based on a student count each year calculated in the fall, the new model will adopt a weighted, moving three-year average when calculating enrolment for funding. Using a weighted moving average means school boards will no longer have to wait until they have a confirmed number of students — typically at the end of September when the school year is already underway — to determine how much funding they will have for the year. This should minimize school authorities having to adjust their revenue forecasts and/or staffing levels throughout the school year.
  • Providing funding predictability for school authorities by confirming their funding commitments from the province by the end of March each year, instead of the end of September when the school year has already begun. This will minimize the need for mid-year adjustments to budgets and staffing, create better alignment between the school year and the government’s fiscal year, and provide boards with more predictability in their planning and budgeting processes. A move to a block-funding model for small rural schools will also ensure the long-term viability of these schools where per-student funding does not provide adequate resources to properly deliver programs and services.
  • Enhancing system accountability for school jurisdictions. The new model will include new accountability measures keeping school boards accountable for student outcomes, community engagement and continuous improvement.

“Our new funding model gives schools more of what they want – flexibility, stability and predictability. Flexibility to invest provincial dollars in areas that make the most sense for their communities. Stability in the number of grants and what the province expects for reporting. And predictability in their funding envelope to allow for better planning well ahead of each school year.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

The funding model for K-12 education has not changed in more than 15 years. The province met with each public, separate and Francophone school division, along with other system partners, in the fall of 2019 to discuss improvements to the way funding flows to school divisions. Overall, divisions wanted more predictability in their funding so they could better plan for each school year, more flexibility in how they spend provincial dollars based on their own needs in their communities, and reductions in provincial red tape.

Specific details for each grant and each school division’s funding will be available in Budget 2020, and will take effect for the 2020-21 school year.

“The College of Alberta School Superintendents recognizes the significant efforts Minister LaGrange has taken to engage with individual school authorities, the CASS Board and other education partners in the development of this new funding framework. The Minister’s willingness to listen and incorporate this feedback is clear as the new funding framework reflects a return to increased autonomy for local board decision making coupled with a reduction in the red tape school authorities have been challenged with in recent years. Finally, while we certainly recognize the fiscal challenges our province is currently experiencing, we are gratified to hear the Minister’s commitment in this budget to an increase in overall projected budget for every Alberta school authority over the previous year’s funding.”

Bevan Daverne, president, College of Alberta School Superintendents

“We appreciate that the government considered input from the education system as they developed the new funding model. This new model will reduce some of the red tape associated with accessing certain grants. It will also give school boards the ability to better predict the amount of funding they will receive in future years within the new, simplified model.”

Rod Steeves, president, Association of School Business Officials of Alberta

“Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) is pleased that government consulted with us on the new assurance and funding framework. We appreciate that government has released the funding framework, as ASBA requested, in advance of the budget. This allows boards time to review and understand the implications within the context of their local realities. ASBA will work closely with school boards and government to support implementation upon release of the budget.”

Lorrie Jess, president, Alberta School Boards Association

“We appreciate that Minister LaGrange has listened to our concerns and demonstrated her confidence and trust in the local autonomy of school boards to make decisions that are in the best interests of their students. While this is a complex matter that will take time for us to determine the impact on the classroom, we are optimistic that these changes will bring opportunity for our district. The reduction of red tape afforded by the new model will help reduce the complexity and workload involved in providing extensive and repetitious data, which in turn, will allow our teachers to focus on what is most important — our students.”

Mary Martin, board chair, Calgary Catholic School District

“Allowing important education funding decisions at a local level is a great step forward for parents’ choice in education and the ability of local school divisions — working with parents — to ensure key priorities are met. This new funding model will provide flexibility on how school divisions provide a precise and quality education to meet the needs of the students and the communities they serve.”

Clark McAskile, board chair, Fort Vermilion School Division

“We are pleased to see that Minister LaGrange has been responsive to our concerns for less red tape as well as targeted supports for small rural schools. We are also pleased to see her continued support for local board autonomy and the flexibility for our board to manage those decisions that most impact our students. We look forward to the release of the full budget details and are hopeful, even in difficult economic times, this new framework will continue to support our board as we provide high quality public education to our students.“

Laurie Huntley, board chair, Golden Hills School Division

“We are pleased to see the government trust locally elected boards to make the right decisions for their students by providing us flexibility within our funding envelopes. The increased flexibility afforded by this new funding model will help us better allocate resources to address the unique needs of our students, while also cutting down on the significant red tape that was tied to the previous funding structure. We are looking forward to working with the government as this model rolls out for the 2020-21 school year.”

John Lehners, board chair, Grande Prairie Public School Division


Premier Smith introduces Alberta Sovereignty Act to battle Ottawa in net-zero battle

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“We are left with no choice but to create a shield to protect Albertans from Ottawa’s dangerous and unconstitutional electricity regulations”

Defending Alberta from brownouts, blackouts and soaring costs

Premier Danielle Smith has introduced an Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act resolution to protect Alberta from the federal government’s proposed net-zero electricity grid regulations to ensure Albertans have access to reliable and affordable power when and where they need it.

Alberta’s government will not put Albertans and their businesses at risk of freezing in the dark at -30 C due to the federal government’s proposed unaffordable, unreliable and unconstitutional Clean Electricity Regulations (CERs).

The federal government has been clear it is unwilling to align its electricity regulations with Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan as the province works to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Instead, the federal government has continued to indicate it will move ahead with its plan to implement unrealistic requirements for a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, regardless of the costs and risks to Albertans.

To protect Albertans from future brownouts, blackouts and soaring costs, Alberta’s government has introduced the first Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act resolution. This resolution asks the legislative assembly of Alberta for approval to take strong, effective action over the coming months and years to counteract the harms and risks to Albertans posed by the federal CERs.

“We have tried to work with Ottawa to align their emissions-reduction efforts with our provincial plan to achieve a carbon-neutral power grid by 2050. Unfortunately, after months of meetings, they continue to reject this opportunity and remain committed to an absurdly unrealistic and unattainable goal of a net-zero power grid by 2035. We are left with no choice but to create a shield to protect Albertans from Ottawa’s dangerous and unconstitutional electricity regulations. They may be willing to expose Albertans to high costs, blackouts and brownouts, but we are not, and we will continue to ensure Albertans are protected from these destructive and unconstitutional federal policies.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

The CERs propose unrealistic rules with Criminal Code violations to achieve net-zero electricity by 2035. Alberta’s grid needs more baseload power from natural gas, but these regulations have created uncertainty and are driving away investment. This threatens the reliability and economic well-being of Alberta’s homes and businesses.

Alberta does not have enough applications for new natural gas power plants to provide the substantial new generation of power the province needs, primarily due to the investor uncertainty caused by the federal government’s extreme policies.

“The courts are on our side, science and logic are on our side, the Constitution is on our side – electricity generation is the jurisdiction of the provinces, not the federal government. It is our responsibility to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to all Albertans without interference from Ottawa. This is what we are doing and will continue to do.”

Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Affordability and Utilities

“The federal regulations will hurt grid reliability for families and businesses while sending costs soaring. Everything we have seen from Ottawa suggests they simply don’t care how these rules will hurt Albertans. We will not put families at risk of rationing power during the coldest days of the year.”

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas

If passed, the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act resolution will help protect Alberta’s electricity grid and ensure that homes and businesses across the province can access reliable, affordable power for decades to come.

The resolution asks Alberta’s cabinet to order all provincial entities not to recognize the constitutional validity of, enforce, nor cooperate in the implementation of the CERs in any manner, to the extent legally permissible. This order would not apply to private companies or individuals. The resolution also asks Alberta’s government to work with the Alberta Electric System Operator, Alberta Utilities Commission and others to implement various reforms to Alberta’s electrical system to ensure grid affordability and reliability.

In addition, the resolution instructs the government to work with industry, regulators and other groups to study the feasibility of establishing a provincial Crown corporation for the purpose of bringing and maintaining more reliable and affordable electricity onto the grid in the event that private generators find it too risky to do so under the CERs.

This Alberta Crown corporation would be a provincial entity and would not recognize the CERs as constitutionally valid. If needed, the Crown corporation would work with industry and other stakeholders to bring on needed electricity onto the grid, either through building new generation or purchasing existing generation assets (i.e. natural gas power plants) that private industry would otherwise not build or shut down due to the uncertainty and penalties established by the CERs. It could also be used as a means of assisting and partnering with industry to de-risk investments in nuclear power and other emerging green generation if needed.

Alberta must be prepared should the CERs lead to divestment in natural gas generation and power plants being turned off in 2035. This initiative would be an important first step towards protecting Albertans’ continued access to reliable and affordable electricity should this occur.

The resolution also urges the government to use all legal means necessary to oppose the federal electricity regulation, including legal challenges.

Quick facts

  • According to the Constitution of Canada, legislating and regulating the development of electricity explicitly falls within the jurisdiction of the province (Section 92A (1) (c)).
  • Alberta has reduced electricity emissions by 53 per cent since 2005.
  • Analysis by the Alberta Electric System Operator determined that Alberta would face disproportionate risk and costs, compared with other provinces, as a result of the federal electricity regulations.
  • Alberta’s grid had seven alerts during colder months in 2022 and had three alerts in summer 2023, underscoring the importance of having sufficient stable baseload power sources like gas, hydro and nuclear available year-round. Alberta must continue to rely on a diverse mix of intermittent and baseload options to prevent future brownouts and blackouts and maintain a reliable grid.
  • The Public Policy Forum previously indicated that the cost of the federal electricity approach could be more than $1 trillion and as high as $1.7 trillion.

Related information

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Help Us Preserve Alberta’s Sport History

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As we approach Giving Tuesday, we invite you to join us in celebrating the spirit of athleticism and honoring the legends who have left an indelible mark on the world of sports. At Alberta’s Sports Hall of Fame, we are dedicated to preserving the rich history of sports, recognizing outstanding sports heroes, and inspiring future generations.

Why Support Our Hall of Fame?

  1. Preserving Sporting Legacy: Our Hall of Fame stands as a testament to the achievements, dedication, and passion of athletes and builders who have shaped the landscape of sports. By supporting us, you contribute to the preservation of their legacy for years to come.
  2. Inspiring Future Champions: Every inductee enshrined in our Hall of Fame serves as a source of inspiration for aspiring individuals. Your generosity helps us develop programs that foster the next generation of champions, instilling values of discipline, teamwork, and perseverance.
  3. Community Engagement: We believe in the power of sports to bring communities together. With your support, we can organize events, outreach programs, and educational initiatives that promote inclusivity, diversity, and the joy of sports within our community.
How Your Donation Makes a Difference:
  • $25: Provides resources for the maintenance and preservation of historical artifacts.
  • $50: Supports educational programs that introduce schoolchildren to the history and importance of sports.
  • $100: Contributes to the development of interactive exhibits, making the Hall of Fame an engaging experience for visitors.
  • $250 and above: Enables us to expand our outreach, bringing the magic of sports to underserved communities.
Join Us on Giving Tuesday:
This Giving Tuesday, be a part of something legendary. Your contribution, no matter the size, makes a significant impact on our ability to celebrate, educate, and inspire through the power of sports.Donate today at and help us continue the legacy of greatness in sports.Thank you for being a champion of sports history and the people who have made it unforgettable.

With gratitude,
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Team

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