News / Calgary

CBE trustee candidates weigh in on operational review findings

Alberta Education released the initial findings into their operational review of the Calgary Board of Education on Thursday

Voting for CBE trustee candidates takes place Oct. 16 as a part of the municipal election.

Metro file photo

Voting for CBE trustee candidates takes place Oct. 16 as a part of the municipal election.

On Thursday, education minister David Eggen released the initial findings of his department's operational review into the Calgary Board of Education. 

The review began August 14, 2017, after being announced in June of 2017. 

Initial findings focused primarily on transportation, and Eggen vowed to help the CBE come up with a "concrete plan" solution for their congregated stop policy by Thanksgiving. 

The CBE said they weren't surprised by the report's findings, and that they look forward to working with Alberta Education as they collect best practices from all four metro school boards over the coming months. 

Metro put out an open call on Twitter to ask any CBE trustee candidates to give their thoughts on the report. 

Here are their thoughts. 

Laura Hack

Contributed

Laura Hack

"The document is interesting and shows that we need to be planning for the unexpected as the costs seem to creep up vs what the spring budget plans for. I think working with other metro boards and sharing best practices is great, there is always more to learn and better ways of doing things. Improvement, not excuses should always be the goal."

Althea Adams

Metro File

Althea Adams

“As an only parent directly impacted by this busing fiasco, today is just another let down in a series of disappointments.  My resolve to campaign harder, to make sure the next CBE Board is focused on the children has been strengthened.  This report is a waste of paper and more uncaring half-measures won’t get our kids the education they need…and deserve.”

Bianca Smetacek

Metro File

Bianca Smetacek

"This seems to be a preliminary report and I am looking forward to more getting more information to get a fuller picture of the CBE budget. 

An immediate cost-cutting measure could be the renegotiation of the 20-year lease of the administration building downtown. 

With the high Commercial vacancy rates downtown, their ability to continue to sublease the two floors seems questionable. Without this revenue, they will incur a major deficit. Overall it was a poor financial decision to enter into a long-term lease even in 2008 considering the volatility of the commercial real estate market. 

I hope the CBE will go back to the table and reorganize congregated stops. I'm disappointed that there are no solutions offered for children who are transitioned off the yellow buses onto transit and the cost/safety issues that arise." 

Marilyn Dennis

Contributed

Marilyn Dennis

"This report does not provide specific enough data to determine whether or not the CBE is operating in an efficient manner in all areas.  

Furthermore, it does not confirm whether or not the additional $18 million in funding is adequate to cover the Alberta Government's initiative to eliminate fees for instructional supplies & materials and transportation fees for eligible students.

It was encouraging to see that the CBE's per student spending is comparable to the other metro boards in the province and I am anxious to see a specific breakdown and comparison of actual expenses.

It would be prudent for the CBE to renegotiate the lease on their Central Administration Building considering the changes in Calgary's economic climate since the lease agreement was reached in 2006.  The CBE should also be providing an explanation around why 'over half of the Central Administration Building's costs are allocated to instructional programming costs instead of being charged to administration overhead.

I am curious to see what ideas Alberta Education will bring to the table around creating a financially sustainable transportation plan. Will Alberta Education contribute additional funding to support better transportation options, in particular for those students accessing programs of choice?  Will Alberta Education provide the funding needed to transport the thousands of complex high needs students to and from school?  Further to this, the CBE and the City of Calgary, specifically Calgary Transit, should be collaborating to provide efficient and safe transportation options for greater numbers of students."

Lisa Davis

Metro File

Lisa Davis

“This short 5-page review does nothing to answer key questions about where money is going, or what the solutions are.  Parents who were promised a detailed report with solutions have been disappointed.  One of our key 5 points is to ensure that more money reaches the classroom to support teachers and students and we will not disappoint parents on this.”

Patricia Bolger

Contributed

Patricia Bolger

"The CBE’s Central Administration Building is a significant ongoing expense.  I was surprised to read that, “Over half of the Central Administration Building’s costs are allocated to instructional programming costs instead of being charged to administration overhead.”  An explanation from the Board would be appreciated.

It’s good news that in comparison to the other three metro boards the CBE is comparable in per-student spending and I believe that comparisons and collaboration among other large urban boards benefit us all by sharing ideas and best practices.

One of the biggest challenges is the transportation of students to programs of choice where 'revenue generated by funding and fees only covers 50 to 75 of the total cost of providing yellow bus service.'  For many years now, students in alternative programs in the CBE haven't been required to cover the full expense of their transportation costs, which makes the changes occurring now more challenging for those families."

Sabrina Bartlett

Metro File

Sabrina Bartlett

“This Board has been caught trying to hide the $13 million in annual rent. Why?  Students, parents, and teachers all deserve transparency. Parents are telling me the rent is outrageous and these dollars (and others) should be put into classrooms and bussing.”

Sadiq Valliani

Metro File

Sadiq Valliani

“The Minister acknowledges problems with the CBE's accounting, transportation, and central administration. He affirms our opinion that Calgary families have been let down, yet again. Parents tell me they have had enough…and some of them are leaving public education. We're ready to make real changes to stop this erosion of public education and focus on student success.  We will get Calgary's public education back on track.”

Sara Peden

Metro File

Sara Peden

"The report provides factual information without drawing many conclusions. It puts the new Board of Trustees and CBE Administration, along with the Minister and his staff, in a good position to collaborate well together. Great progress can be made in the months to come. The report signals an opportunity to get down to work. We can bring local and provincial players together. This will be to the long-term benefit of Calgary’s students."

Jennifer Seamone

Contributed

Jennifer Seamone

"The recognition that there is more work to be done with CBE transportation is positive, but I would like to see a pledge for additional transportation funding from Alberta Education.

I am calling to develop increased partnerships with Calgary Transit to create more direct and dedicate routes for our students that will lead to greater levels of efficiency and cost savings."

Mike Bradshaw

Metro File

Mike Bradshaw

"The Minister is just now noticing what parents have been saying for years, the CBE moves money around like it's a shell game and they are accountable to no one."

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