EDMONTON – As another school year approaches, there’s still no word on if or when the province will pay for full-day kindergarten. It’s a promise former premier Alison Redford made during the PC leadership race in 2011.
However, the project – pegged at $200 million back in 2011 – was deferred in 2012 and 2013 because of budgetary restraints.
The Edmonton Catholic and Public School boards both have full-day kindergarten programs at 23 sites, with the boards footing the bill.
So far, though, there’s been no solid commitment from the province.
Wildrose Education critic Bruce McAllister chalks it up to another broken PC promise.
“I think frankly you’ve got a better chance of seeing Elvis perform at Klondike Days next year than to see most of the PC promises come to fruition,” he said.
“They’ve broken just about every promise they made in education. They knocked on your door, promised to build 50 new schools, promised all-day kindergarten, promised the moon and the stars and they’ve delivered nothing.”
A statement from Alberta Education, which you can read in its entirety below, says staff are still looking for a way to bring in the funding.
“The Government of Alberta is committed to ensuring parents have access to a range of responsive and cutting-edge early learning environments for their kids. This includes kindergarten options that will help children become better prepared for school.
Full-day kindergarten is a complex policy and one that requires a well-developed, phased-in plan to address issues such as workforce and infrastructure requirements. To this end, as part of Budget 2014, our government announced funding to support planning for future implementation of optional full-day kindergarten for children who would benefit the most, particularly those from demographics identified as in need of extra support and resources.
In keeping with our commitment to invest in early childhood development, Alberta Education staff are currently researching various programming and policy options for full-day kindergarten. We’re in the process of determining the best approach for moving ahead in support of Alberta’s youngest students.
Implementation timelines and further details are currently being determined in conjunction with our partners. We’re making sure we take the time to get it right.”
Funding for research into the best way to implement full-day kindergarten was announced in the 2014 budget.
With files from Quinn Ohler, Global News