Alberta Mirror

Monday, December 4, 2023

Edmonton Public Schools meeting ‘tough’ funding with enrolment, inflation outpacing budget


Key takeaways: 

  • Education Minister says the school division is receiving more budget than the previous year.
  • Edmonton Public School Board Chair Trisha Estabrooks said the region’s budget formula harms the school division’s funding.

Edmonton Public Schools faces complex options in its upcoming funding deliberations, with a point in enrolment numbers that the school division says is outpacing the regional budget. 

“We are undergoing advanced pressures all over,” stated district superintendent Darrel Robertson at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting. “This is the most challenging funding that we will have faced in my nine years as superintendent.” 

Edmonton Public School indicates an enrolment gain of 2.7 percent for the upcoming school year, but funds from the region aren’t keeping up. 

The district calculates that 1,692 full-time students will be left without a budget due to Alberta Education’s weighted moving average formula (WMA).

At their meeting on Tuesday, trustees discussed the budgets, which will create the basis for next month’s funding reviews. 

Read more: Edmonton searches for alternative funding sources to conduct public transit

Edmonton Public Schools faces complex options in its upcoming funding deliberations

“This is a tight budget,” said Trisha Estabrooks, chair of the district’s board of trustees. “This will be a hard funding for Edmonton Public Schools.”

The weighted moving average formula has been contentious since Education Minister Adriana LaGrange introduced it in February 2020. The procedure is estimated using enrolment figures from the past, current, and upcoming school years.

Analysts say the formula helps rural schools with falling enrolments and hurts the large metro school boards with increasing students. 

Edmonton Public Schools is launched to have a student enrolment of 102,702 full-time equivalents (FTE) in the upcoming school year. The WMA formula computes its budget allocation based on 101,010 FTE. 

The district is looking at an operating earnings funding of $1.226 billion for 2022-23, with $10.1 million from the reserve fund increasing the funding from the region. 

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