The Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees approved the 2023/24 operating budget.
The budget focuses on providing funding, supports, and resources directly to schools, having the greatest positive impact on students and learning.
“RVS remains committed to providing our 28,000 students with a world-class education and maximizing our budget to direct student learning dollars into our classrooms,” Board Chair Norma Lang said. “This budget is a reflection of what we heard from families, students and staff should be the division’s focus to improve student learning.”
The board approved spending $318.2 million with $217.5 million provided by the provincial government.
Of the $217.5 million, $209.7 million will go directly to schools, and $7.8 million will be managed to provide additional support for school needs, such as substitute teacher costs, technology staffing, equipment purchases and supplies.
The funds will staff schools and classrooms, and be allocated for school-based supplies, numeracy and literacy teaching and resource supports, inclusion, new curriculum implementation, English as an Additional Language, Indigenous knowledge-building, and mental health and wellness for students and staff.
Inclusion supports directed to schools was maintained at $15 million, with an additional $7.1 million for divisional staff, such as psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and family school liaisons, to support all schools.
“The division and schools work hard to stretch every dollar of funding we receive from the province to offer students the best possible education and supports,” Lang said. “The provincial weighted moving average (WMA) funding negatively impacts growing divisions and for RVS this means that we must educate nearly 800 students next fall without any instructional grants.”
RVS will allocate $1 million in reserves to support the enrolment growth expected in the upcoming school year, which the WMA does not fund.
Operating reserves at the end of the 2023/24 school year are projected to be 1.5 per cent of the total operating budget, the release said.
Through the budget, schools throughout the division have increased access to literacy and numeracy supports, in addition to English as an Additional Language and Indigenous programming.
“This is an important need as the division works to advance goal number one of the Strategic Plan to deliver excellent instruction with a focus on numeracy and literacy,” the release said.
The budget will also ensure RVS continues to offer diverse learning opportunities such as two online schools, Community Learning Centres, Building Futures and the RVS Mechanics Training Centre.
“Over the years, through various partnerships and division investments, RVS has developed unique opportunities to meet a variety of student learning needs,” Superintendent of Schools Greg Luterbach said. “This budget demonstrates the board’s ongoing commitment to building future-ready students and supporting students in achieving success in a variety of ways.”
The board submitted the 2023/24 budget to Alberta Education and will continue to advocate for construction funding from the provincial government on schools in Airdrie, Cochrane, and Chestermere to ease student space pressure.