, 14 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I want to talk about covering the cost of enrolment growth through finding efficiencies in administration. Trustees think about this a lot. Here's an #epsb report on operational efficiency for 2018/19 (we do this annually). 1/13 #abed #ableg #abvote epsb.ca/media/epsb/our…
As you can see, we look hard at our internal practices and seek external partnerships to improve our use of operational resources, especially when it comes to district administration. It's an important bit of our fiduciary responsibility as trustees to use public funds well. 2/13
We're pretty lean in #EPSB as admin goes. While the provincial cap is set at 3.6% of district budget, we run at 3.2%. That's lower than charities (where admin spending is usually seen as efficient at 5-10%). Admittedly, different sector, but it's enlightening to compare. 3/13
So. We keep the admin costs as low as we can because we are, actually, people who care about kids. You don't become a trustee unless you value education (it's definitely not for the salary!). We want to direct as much as we can to the classroom because, well, that's our job. 4/13
Anyhow, with that out of the way, let's look at the math. In #EPSB, we are predicting enrolment growth of 3.1% this year. That's in keeping with our rate in recent years, which has been around that mark. #yeg is young and growing, and so we have lots of school-aged children. 5/13
Let's then look at what we spend on administration. Remember, that's 3.2% of our district budget. Our 2018 actual expenditure was $37.8 million (that sounds like a lot, but we're talking a budget of more than $1.1 billion here). 6/13
When we did the math on what not funding for the approximately 3000 new students coming to #epsb this fall would mean, our financial team calculated that would be a shortfall of $39.6 million. 7/13
We could eliminate our entire administration budget - which includes the superintendent of schools, central district supports, finance, human resources, all of it - and still not cover the cost of enrolment growth for a single year. 8/13
And, obviously, you can't eliminate many roles. While they're central staff, they work regularly with schools, prepare our budgets, hire our teachers, maintain IT systems, plan for infrastructure and maintenance, support professional learning and curriculum, and so on. 9/13
Anyhow. Even with working as hard as we do to find efficiencies, it is mathematically impossible to cover a shortfall of $39.6 million with efficiencies in a budget line that's about $2.1 million less than that shortfall, even if you eliminate every single thing. 10/13
To claim we can just get more efficient in admin and cover the shortfall - let alone make meaningful improvements in class sizes, supports for inclusion, resources for Indigenous students and English language learners, mental health, etc. - is to propose the impossible. 11/13
Let's be clear on what this means: if growth isn't funded, it will affect the front lines. It will affect your child's classroom. As trustees, we do our best to protect frontline resources, but you can't blow a $40 million hole in our budget and expect it to leave no marks. 12/13
The solution: stop expecting children to wait for the education they need until the economy improves. The futures of an entire generation of Alberta kids are on the line here. They need good education today, not in some indeterminate future. 13/13
(Addendum: this is just one of many areas of the platform where somebody should probably have asked school districts what we are already doing and what our families are actually telling us they want in education. Consultation is useful in building policy!)
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