With looming cuts in Calgary schools, Alberta-wide survey reveals chronic underfunding

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With looming cuts to Calgary schools new survey reveals chronic under-funding
WATCH: Troubling new findings from a first of its kind parent motivated survey. An advocacy group polled principals across the province and say they've concluded chronic underfunding. This comes on the heels of newly released data by the Calgary Board of Education reported a multi-million dollar deficit. Here's Jill Croteau – Apr 12, 2017

Schools across the province are suffering due to chronic underfunding, according to parent advocacy group Support Our Students Alberta (SOS).

Principals across the province were asked to take the poll. The results will give a more tangible measure of school performance.

The group considers it an alternative to standardized tests and school rankings.

Barbara Silva with SOS said the survey was voluntary and confidential.

“What we were hearing on the street was reflected by principals. It’s not anecdotal, it’s not a perception. It’s reality.”

It’s hoped the findings will allow them to advocate for things they discovered are falling short.

For example, the survey revealed 58 per cent of the respondents reported nurses were not available for their school.

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Over 70 per cent reported no teacher librarian and 45 per cent reported no physical education teachers in their schools. Meanwhile, 95 per cent said there were no health teachers in the school.

This comes as the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) revealed a $38.6-million deficit. Officials warn cuts to services could be coming.

“When the budget was being built, we were valuing staff and not stuff,” board chair Joy-Bowen Eyre said. “So we’re trying to keep supports and people supporting our students.”

In the last two years, CBE is opening 20 new schools including a handful of modernizations.

The board said it was forced to find $13 million as a result of unprecedented capital activity. The province provides funding for the new facilities but not for what goes inside.

For full results of Support Our Students Alberta survey, click here.

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