Budget 2020-21 Update
The Foothills School Division (FSD) Board of Trustees is pleased to report they have completed a thorough review of the preliminary draft 2020-2021 budget. The review process included considering all the valued input received during the budget and Three-Year Education Plan engagements including Thought Exchange.
During the engagement process 544 comments were received from 1,139 families and staff members. They were then prioritized by our community through 21,633 ratings. These comments were categorized into themes to support the key priorities identified in the FSD 3-year Education Plan and in the construction of a draft budget. They include: Quality Education; Class Sizes; Additional Supports; Staffing; Meetings & Professional Development; Learning & Curriculum; Transportation, Technology & Facilities; School Fees; School Configuration & Closure.
The Board of Trustees is committed to an assurance model which includes financial transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement. FSD believes assurance happens by engaging stakeholders in consultation throughout the development of the budget and education plan.
The preliminary draft budget includes:
- Moving to the new Alberta Education Assurance Funding Model and changes to the funding framework.
- A focus on supporting the key priorities identified in FSD’s Three Year Education Plan.
- A plan to spend an additional $2.4 million from operating reserves to ensure a safe and well supported return to school in 2020-2021.
- A reduction from the current $3.2 million shortfall to a targeted $2.4 million deficit for the 2020-21 school year.
- A solution to the loss of contracted specialized services previously provided through Alberta Health Services and subsequent plan to hire non-teaching professionals to provide targeted supports and assessments for FSD students facing learning challenges.
- Prioritizing current front-line staffing levels across the Division.
- No increase in school or transportation fees.
In addition to Alberta Education funding, Foothills School Division continues to pursue alternative income sources to supplement funding for students. Two new initiatives to support this direction will include an FSD Foundation and grant writing program and an enhanced online learning platform for grades 1-12 to build upon the creativity and innovation of our staff team during this shift to a virtual learning environment. The latter initiative will position FSD well to increase student enrollment in the future via further options in both blended and online learning opportunities for students and families.
Board Chair Larry Albrecht said, “Trustees value working together with their community to meet the needs of our FSD students and staff. A significant aspect of shared governance is engaging with stakeholders on FSD’s budgets and Three-Year Education Plan. This has been a priority throughout the assurance engagement process and the Board is proud of the positive relationships and mutual respect that has been fostered and have become the cornerstone of the FSD school community. We take every opportunity to share our successes with other school authorities and the Education Ministry.”
The final budget document will be considered for approval along with the FSD’s Three-Year Education Plan 2020-2023 at a special board meeting scheduled for June 3, 2020.
Details of the budget engagement and development process, financial statements, FAQs, and other information can be found on the Foothills School Division engagement website at: www.fsd38.ab.ca//Engagement.php