Lethbridge school districts have created their budgets already, despite uncertainties of the funding they’ll be receiving from the United Conservative government’s first budget.
“Because if they’re not, [we] could be making some drastic changes come September, October when the budget actually comes out.”
One of the assumptions the Holy Spirit school district has made in its budget is the loss of the provincial nutrition grant, a program that allows the district to offer free breakfast and lunch programs for students from low-income families.
“That’s going to impact the learning and that’s our business.”
The grant was put in place by the previous NDP government in 2016. Since then, the province has provided nearly $30 million to schools across Alberta.
Global News asked the Alberta education minister on Thursday if the government will commit to funding the nutrition grant program once the school year begins.
“Our government recognizes the importance of nutrition programs across the province,” said the minister’s spokesperson, Colin Aitchison, in a statement.
“As is standard procedure, funding and grant information will be communicated to school divisions following approval of the budget by the legislature.
“We remain committed to funding education and supporting our students.”
The fall sitting, however, doesn’t begin until October, after kids are already back in class.
In past years, the Holy Spirit district received about $250,000 from the grant that went to funding breakfast and lunch programs at their schools.
“But we still have to find a way to provide for the needs of our students that are coming into the schools on a daily basis hungry.”
The district, Smeaton added, will work with the community to allow them to continue providing these programs.
“We’re hopeful that we can continue to offer programs that feed our hungry kids and positively impact the learning,” he said.