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Local school divisions say Provincial Budget leaves them 5.5 Million short


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Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools

A joint press release from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools and Red Deer Public Schools

Local School Boards Face Provincial Budget Challenges

Boards, Administration and Teachers Share Their Concerns

The provincial education budget was announced by Alberta Education on October 24.  On Friday, October 25, the details of that budget were shared with school divisions.

While the overall provincial funding for education​ ​has remained the same, the reality is there has been a dramatic reduction in funding, which will be felt in both our school divisions.  A key impact came with the reallocation of funding for class size and classroom improvement to support student enrollment growth across the province.​ ​As a result, both Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools and Red Deer Public Schools will face higher deficits than originally planned.

Both school divisions anticipated funding shortfalls for this school year. However, now that we have seen the details and actual numbers in the provincial budget, more adjustments will have to be made. Red Deer Public Schools is facing an additional $3.5 million loss in funding on its original budget of $125 million and will need to fill that gap.  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools will see a $2 million reduction in funding from its original budget of $115 million.

This means both jurisdictions will have to use accumulated reserves to cover the deficits beyond what was originally anticipated​.​ While our shared priority is to have the least impact on the classroom, this funding shortfall will ultimately have an affect on all classrooms, programs and students. Beyond that, our schools continue to grow and now more than ever, we are experiencing more complexity in our classrooms with students and teachers needing more support.

Both Divisions now have important and challenging decisions to make as a result of the provincial budget. It will be even more difficult to make these​ ​changes mid-year.

“In preparation for projected funding changes, we reduced our allocations to schools and some programs by two per cent for the start of the 2019-2020 school year. This decision has offset the bulk of the more than $2 million loss in funding we experienced with Thursday’s provincial budget. We will use our reserves to eliminate the remaining deficit, but we also are concerned about funding allocations going forward,” said Superintendent Dr. V. Paul Mason at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

“After hearing more details of the 2019 Provincial Budget, Red Deer Public will be forced to reevaluate some of our priorities. These are priorities that were set before the 2019/20 school year and reevaluating them mid-year will have a significant impact to staff and ultimately students. This could also mean examining school fees for next school year to offset costs due to the shortfall in provincial funding,” said Stu Henry, Superintendent for Red Deer Public Schools.

Teachers in both Divisions are also concerned.

“Teachers know that a fully funded education system is a good investment for government that pays off exponentially for our society in the future. Unfortunately, these budget cuts likely means that more students, especially those who require additional learning supports, may not have access to tools and resources that they need to fully realize their potential, despite having the very best teachers in their classrooms,” said Stephen Merredew, Alberta Teachers’ Association Local 80 President representing teachers in Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

“Teachers are disappointed with this budget. Once again, teachers will be asked to do more with less, but they shouldn’t have to. Our children are our most precious resource in this province and they deserve better than what this government has brought forward for education funding,” said Kelly Aleman, Alberta Teachers’ Association Local 60 President representing teachers in Red Deer Public Schools.

As both divisions continue to grow, the question of funding and future budgets remains a concern.



After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Blue Bombers become first CFL team to earn playoff spot with 26-16 victory over Elks

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EDMONTON — Zach Collaros threw two touchdown passes as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Edmonton Elks 26-16 on Friday night to become the first CFL team to clinch a playoff berth.

Winnipeg (9-1) captured its seventh straight victory and improved to 7-0 within the West Division. Collaros finished 15-of-24 passing for 210 yards with an interception to remain the CFL’s passing leader (2,565 yards) but is also tops in TD passes with 15.

This marks the fifth straight season that Winnipeg, the defending Grey Cup champion, has made the playoffs.

Edmonton (2-7) suffered its fifth straight loss and dropped to 0-5 at home this season.

Edmonton’s defence forced a safety at 9:31 of the first quarter, then came up big five minutes later as Trumaine Washington intercepted Collaros in the end zone. The Bombers closed out the opening quarter with a 37-yard Ali Mourtada field goal.

The Elks responded with Sean Whyte’s 34-yard field goal at 11:22 of the second.

Winnipeg took the lead with three minutes left in the first half as a 47-yard completion to Kenny Lawler set up Collaros’s five-yard TD strike to Andrew Harris. But Harris appeared to suffer an injury to his right knee and did not return as Brady Oliveira finished up with 105 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Whyte kicked a 25-yard field cut Winnipeg’s half-time lead to 10-8.

Mourtada converted from 27 and a career-high 43 yards to start the third. Edmonton tied it 16-16 on Taylor Cornelius’s 11-yard TD toss to Shai Ross. Backup quarterback Dakota Prukop added the two-point convert.

Rookie Cornelius got the start as incumbent Trevor Harris was a healthy scratch.

Moments after Elks defender Aaron Grymes couldn’t hang on to an easy interception opportunity, Collaros hit Rasheed Bailey on a 48-yard completion before finding him on a five-yard scoring strike six minutes into the fourth.

Mourtada cemented the win with a 23-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining.

Winnipeg hosts the B.C. Lions next Saturday while Edmonton has a bye week before returning home against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Oct. 29.

NOTES: Harris being sidelined while healthy has led to speculation the Elks are actively shopping their veteran quarterback on the trade front… Lawler returned to the lineup after being suspended by Winnipeg for its last game for an impaired driving arrest… The actual attendance appeared to be far beneath the announced 24,276 fans.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Medical examiner describes deaths of mother, toddler at Calgary murder trial

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CALGARY — A forensic pathologist has told a murder trial that a Calgary woman and her young daughter suffered blunt force trauma to their heads.

Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson were reported missing in April 2019.

The next month, their bodies were found buried in a day use area in Kananaskis Country, west of Calgary.

Robert Leeming has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Lovett but not guilty to second-degree murder in the child’s death.

Deputy medical examiner Dr. Akmal Coetzee-Khan described his findings through a series of autopsy photos.

He says Lovett appeared to have been moved after her death, judging from pooling of blood in her body.

She also had a black eye and bruising on her face.

The Canadian Press

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