Calgary School Boards Have Highest Administration Costs in Alberta

Posted by Alan Zunec on Friday, April 22nd, 2011 at 11:29am.

All school districts within the province of Alberta are having to get by with smaller budgets these days. In Calgary, even though their budgets have also been whittled down, the public and separate school boards are spending a larger proportion of those funds on trustees and top officials than boards elsewhere in Alberta. The Calgary Catholic School Board spends 3.8 on upper management and the CBE allocates 3.7 percent for the same reason.

In Edmonton and Red Deer, only 2.7 percent of the budget goes to headquarters expenses. The provincial average is 3.4 percent and the provincial overall cap, the amount that no board may exceed, is 4.0 percent. Dave Hancock, the Education Minister notes that while he does not want to advise boards how to manage their budget, he does hope that the students are getting most of the benefits, and that those same boards are being transparent about where the money is going.

The Association for Responsible Trusteeship for the Calgary Schools is a bit frustrated because neither board had a breakdown of the monies allocated to administration. This raises questions about how funds are being spent. Pat Cochrane from the CBE dismisses this idea, noting that the performance of the students should be the measuring stick for how a board is managing its schools, not how funds are spent. John Deausy, from the Catholic School Board advises that his administration costs are higher because all staffing and financial matters are handled at headquarters, not farmed out to individual schools. Both districts are looking at staff and program cuts for next year.

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