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Calgary Board of Education discusses $32 million shortfall for school year

Last Updated Nov 15, 2019 at 7:34 am MST

The office of the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) in downtown Calgary on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. (PHOTO: Chelsey Harms, 660 NEWS)

The CBE says the annual funding cuts beginning in 2020-2021 will be $48 million

Some of the options being considered are spending cuts and raising transportation fees

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Some trustees got emotional as the Calgary Board of Education talked budget cuts during a meeting on Thursday evening.

The board is facing a $32 million shortfall for this school year and $48 million annually starting next year.

Trustees were presented with six strategies to make up the shortfall, including spending cuts to schools, reducing capital spending, and increasing transportation fees.

The board believes it could find around $22 million in savings, but it would lead to eliminating some temporary positions.

However, Chief Financial Officer Brad Grundy said about 60 per cent of the budget is non-discretionary.

“We got to pay insurance premiums. Facilities and environmental services has to pay the price of natural gas and electricity. Those are not things that we can easily impact.”

No easy decisions were made during the meeting, and at one point board chair Marilyn Dennis was reduced to tears.

“Our parents have very high expectations of us and they should. Our community has expectations and they should because they trust us every single day with the most precious thing they have, and that’s their children.”

Fellow trustee Julie Hrdlicka shared that sentiment.

“I just want to commend our staff for all of the work that we continue to do on behalf of our students.”

Meanwhile, other boards are looking at solutions to combat the cuts,

Rocky View Schools, which services Airdrie, Cochrane, and Chestermere, is billing parents an additional $308 dollars this year per student to avoid cutting staff.