There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to how the Provincial budget will impact the Foothills School Division.
School board chair Theresa Letendre says they won't receive their complete funding profile until the end of March but it looks like it'll be a flat budget which is concerning.
"With our reserves at an all-time low and us trying to come up with $3.5-million, this is a big challenge that we're going to be faced with here," she says. "We recently launched a public consultation around our budget called Ideas That Make Cents, because we're projecting a $3.5-million deficit, now the lion's share of that money is insurance costs and last year alone we had to transfer money from our reserves to cover the cost of insuring our properties, so $2-million went to insurance," she explained.
The budget did mention there may be some relief for increased insurance costs but Letendre says in a Friday morning meeting with the education minister there were no details so they'll meet with MLA's this week to press the issue saying "dollars going to insurance are taking away dollars from classrooms".
Letendre expects the division to get a 4.5 per cent increase for transportation, if they qualify, which would help with insurance and rising fuel costs, while they'll likely see a one per cent increase for growth since enrolment has been fairly flat across the division.
The three-year Capital Plan includes funding of $1.5 billion for school projects, including 15 projects for the construction of new schools, modernizations and design work to support school building priorities although Letendre says there were no details available when meeting with the minister Friday.
The Foothills School Division is hoping they'll be on the list of capital projects because they're hoping to get funding for a new high school in Okotoks.
"She (education minister Adriana LeGrange) spoke about a $110-million grant over three years for student well being, the first year being $30-million but shared that, similar to the Grade One to Three literacy and numeracy grant that school divisions had to apply for, this is going to be along a similar vein, that school divisions will need to apply for a percentage of that funding," she says.
That money would be shared between public, charter and private schools.
The budget also included $47-million over three years in capital funding to expand charter schools and the collegiate model.
Letendre says she's still waiting on more details on that and how it would affect the Foothills School Division.