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Eggen to CBE: "be sure and careful" about numbers

660 NEWS

Alberta’s Education Minister thinks the Calgary Board of Education should make sure it has its math straight when it comes to its concerns about education funding in this week’s budget.

The Board said Thursday after the budget was tabled that despite the $8.2 billion in education funding, there still remains a gap of tens of millions of dollars between the amount it receives and that necessary to maintain current educational service levels for students.

But David Eggen wasn’t willing to accept that on face value.

“I think that they better provide some very specific information around that,” he said Friday at an Edmonton school.

The Board also took issue with Bill 1, the proposed legislation to reduce school fees.

“We are worried that we will be required to make decisions contrary to what we heard from parents last year during our transportation engagement,” the board said in a statement.

The CBE also said about one in four students who currently ride a yellow school bus will benefit from Bill 1.

“The rest could see fees increased and services reduced or eliminated,” the statement said.

But Eggen pointed out the Calgary Board of Education’s fees are amongst the highest in the province, whereas the NDP plan of $54 million to reduce fees will put money back in the pockets of parents.

“I just think that they better be very sure and careful about their numbers,” he said, adding the Board charged $50 million in school fees, whereas Edmonton Public School was about $33 million.

As for the one in four estimation, Eggen said he’d have to look into it.

“Are we eliminating school fees? No we’re not, but we’ve certainly done a very solid job in reducing school fees and this must be acknowledged,” he said.