Rocky View Schools (RVS) trustees used reserve funds and an unused grant to balance its 2024/25 school year budget.

With revenue projected to be $323.8 million, the $326.8 million budget required $1.8 million from operating reserves and $500,000 in unspent system administration grants to balance. Reserves at the end of 2024/25 are projected to be just above the provincially mandated range set by the government.  

RVS officials continue to express concern over the Weighted Moving Average (WMA) funding model used by the provincial government, calling it a disadvantage to growing divisions like RVS.

The WMA does not provide funding for all students every year. Because of that, RVS will receive $3.3 million less next school year than if the government funded every student at the base student grant.

"This lost operational funding could have been used for additional teachers, learning assistants, caretakers, technology and more to further support students," states a RVS news release. 

READ MORE: RVS chair Fiona Gilbert speaks on education funding increase

RVS officials say 92 per cent of instructional dollars will go directly to schools with the remaining dollars managed centrally to support schools and school staff.

RVS expects to welcome 748 new students next September, an enrolment growth of 2.6 per cent. To support this growth the division anticipates hiring 11 FTE for teachers and 10 FTE learning assistants, increasing their teaching staff to 1,416 to maintain class size guidelines. 

In schools, 330 learning assistants across the division will support inclusive learning environments. RVS is investing $500,000 above the provincial specialized learning grants received to provide additional school-based inclusion support.

Students will be further supported through divisional staff working with schools. Approximately 42 full-time positions will be working directly in schools assisting classroom teachers. Positions include speech language pathologists, psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, family school liaisons and learning specialists. Investment into various learning opportunities and environments such as two online schools, career and dual credit opportunities, Community Learning Centres, Building Futures and the RVS Mechanics Training Centre will continue.

Highlights include:

  • Overall revenue is projected to be $323.8 million, while expenditures total $326.6 million.
  • Total government funding for 2024/25 increased by $8.8 million (+3.3 per cent) to $277.4 million.
  • Base K-12 instruction funding increased by $6.3 million (+3.5 per cent) to $184.5 million.
  • The per student funding rates remain status quo and the projected enrolment increase drives the increase.
  • Supports and Services grants funding increased by $1.2 million (+4.6 per cent) to $27.9 million.
  • Specialized learning grants increased 3.5 per cent in line with projected enrolment increase.
  • Funding for students identified as English as Additional Language and Indigenous increased 13.5 per cent and 9.4 per cent respectively, in line with projected enrolment changes.
  • School grants for operations and maintenance increased by $863,000 (+3.8 per cent) mainly driven by the addition of the Cochrane Christian Academy facility and new Horseshoe Crossing school opening in Langdon.
  • Funding for Infrastructure Maintenance Renewal (IMR) increased by $73,000 (+2.6 per cent).
  • School grants for transportation increased by $524,000 (+3.0 per cent) based on anticipated increase in bus riders.
  • Jurisdiction grants had a net decrease of $138,000 (-0.8 per cent).
  • System administration increased $170,000 (+1.8 per cent); teacher wage settlement remains status quo at $5.5 million; and the supplemental growth grant decreased by $309,000 (-16.2 per cent).
  • Dedicated mental health team focused on supporting student wellness. One addictions and mental health worker, one family/school liaison worker, one positive behaviour coach, and two success coaches. Additional 2.4 FTE of success coaches will support students until December 2024 through the remaining mental health grant funding set to expire as of December 2024.
  • Additional staff for Human Resources to enhance recruitment and retention efforts by adding 0.8 FTE to move the fourth team part-time team to full-time.
  • Maintaining the Wellness Coordinator position within Human Resources and increasing the focus on wellness initiatives with funding of $50,000.
  • Providing $1.2 million of budget for staff to participate in professional learning opportunities in addition to the designated professional learning days for school-based staff.
  • Transitioning to ASEBP for benefits bringing benefits in line with most other school divisions in Alberta. Benefits provided by RVS total $18.9 million representing 7.6 per cent of compensation budget and 5.8 per cent of total RVS budget.
  • $6.9 million of funding for sick leave and medical appointment coverage for teachers across all schools representing 2.8 per cent of compensation budget and 2.1 per cent of total RVS budget.
  • The projected ending balance for operating reserves as of August 31, 2025 will be $6.2 million or 2.0 per cent of the total operating budget. Excluding transportation reserves, the operating reserve is anticipated to be 0.9 per cent of the total operating budget which is between the range set by the board priorities.

The budget is being submitted to Alberta Education. It will be posted to its website shortly.