Parent group asks government to review CBE school funding
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A Calgary parent group wants to know how the Calgary Board of Education is spending money that doesn’t go directly towards schools – and on Monday they asked David Eggen, Minister of Education, for a third-party review on the matter.
Lisa Davis, president of the Calgary Association of Parent School Councils said that 22 per cent of funding grants don’t go towards school budgets, based on the last budget that concluded in August. The new budget hasn't been released yet.
Eggen said he would take their request under advisement. He has a meeting where the school board will be present in early October.
Brad Grundy, Chief Financial Officer with the CBE, said that number sounds like it’s fairly accurate, and he welcomes a review – so long as it’s not the CBE that is paying for it.
"I have no doubt that we would come through any additional audits in fine form,” he said. “I’m not prepared to fund an audit, but if someone feels strongly enough to have an audit done, I’m more than happy to have them fund it and we’ll absolutely open our books up and our programs up to audit.”
Davis noted the CBE budgets $157 million for school support services, but only $4 million goes towards special assistance needs like braille assistance. She said it's a very small proportion.
Grundy said the school centralizes many services, like braille assistants and other specialists, who go visit schools as needed. It saves money and helps them better allocate resources.
Davis responded, “Clearly with school councils and parents paying higher fees, school councils being asked for educational items, it is clear that not enough money is reaching the schools and this is an issue the board of trustees needs to address.”