The Spring 2020 Provincial Budget's impact on Livingstone Range School Division means the Division will need to cut $2 million from our operating budget over the next 3 years. Despite changes to our funding, high-quality education for students remains a top priority in LRSD.
As part of budgeting and planning for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond, LRSD Board of Trustees sought stakeholder engagement. We asked staff, students, parents, and community members to provide input on setting priorities for the 2020-2021 budget and review of our 3-Year Educational Plan.
Through a short, anonymous online survey between March 12 and 22, 399 respondents provided meaningful feedback on focus areas for the Division. Below are seven priority areas that ranked highest among responses, along with how LRSD has or will address them.
- Stakeholders said they want small class sizes.
We continue to prioritize classroom instruction and support by including the Alberta Commission on Learning recommendations for class sizes in the calculation of our instructional funding formula. We will retain a consistent number of K-12 Educational Assistants to provide critical in-class support, despite a $900,000 funding deficit. Historically, LRSD has had one of the lowest student to teacher ratios in the province and our planning for 2020-2021 maintains these ratios.
- Stakeholders emphasized the importance of academics, including literacy and numeracy.
We have built literacy and numeracy capacity in our schools and continue to prioritize our academic focus by providing meaningful professional development opportunities for teachers, offering exam preparation courses for students, and using integrated technology resources in classrooms and at home. We are committed to providing our youngest students with a good start and have been working with our Early Learning Coordinator and Kindergarten teachers over the past several years to identify struggling learners and provide them with strategies for success.
- Stakeholders said they want classroom supports, including Educational Assistants, to be emphasized.
We continue to prioritize classroom instruction and support by retaining a consistent number of K-12 Educational Assistants and Child Youth Care Workers to provide critical in-class support, retaining FNMI support staff, and increasing Family School Liaison Counsellors despite funding reductions.
- Stakeholders want high-quality teaching in our schools.
We continue to prioritize high-quality teaching through recruitment excellence, impactful professional development opportunities for staff, and ongoing supervision and mentorship opportunities for our new teachers and administrators.
- Stakeholders said a great school culture is important.
We continue to emphasize and support safe and caring schools that are inclusive and focus on relationship building. Through ongoing professional development opportunities for staff, leadership training, and staff initiatives each school in Livingstone Range School Division develops and promotes its unique school culture and place-based focus.
- Stakeholders emphasized mental health supports.
We continue to prioritize mental health support by increasing the number of Family School Liaison Counsellors in 2019-2020 and maintaining those staff in 2020-2021 and future years.
- Stakeholders said options programming is important in our schools.
We are committed to providing programming that meets the needs of students. While we are unable to provide all programs in all schools, we do offer high school French and Spanish, Ski Academy, Hockey Academy, band, drama, art, welding, construction, automotives, wildlife studies, and more.
The LRSD 2020-2021 budget will be finalized at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 27, 2020. We are confident that despite provincial funding cuts, we will continue to provide an exceptional educational experience for our students.
We thank parents, grandparents, students, staff, and community members who participated in the survey and provided meaningful feedback that has helped guide our budgetary and administrative decisions.