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Alberta education minister responds to teachers’ class size campaign

Click to play video: 'Alberta minister talks resources for education' Alberta minister talks resources for education
WATCH ABOVE: Education Minister David Eggen says class sizes are smaller under the current NDP government than they would be under a Jason Kenney government – Nov 20, 2017

Editor’s note: This article originally stated the teachers’ agreement expires in April 2019. However, the agreement expires in August 2018.

A new Alberta Teachers’ Association campaign is putting the contentious issue of class sizes into the spotlight in the lead up to the next election.

READ MORE: Alberta Teachers’ Association calling for reduced class sizes 

Education Minister David Eggen says he understands the desire for smaller classes but adds those costs must be balanced within the larger provincial picture.

“The economy is starting to improve here in Alberta, but the revenues for the government are not,” Eggen said in an interview with Global News on Monday.

READ MORE: Alberta NDP promises to reduce class sizes, create school lunch program

Still, the minister says the government has put millions into education. Eggen also says the system is in a much better place under the current government than it would be under its opponents.

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“I’ve put in more than $970 million… than the previous government would have through meeting enrolment targets. If you look over the horizon… I know Jason Kenney is talking about cutting 20 per cent out of a ministry like education, which would result in devastating increases in class size increases.”

READ MORE: Alberta Teachers’ Association says additional 3K educators needed to reduce class sizes 

The minister says the last contract between the teachers and the province had approximately $72 million for improving classroom conditions. That includes things like hiring more teachers and support staff.

Teachers’ current collective agreement expires August 2018, right in time for the next election.

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