Board of Trustees Advocates for Students

Mar. 04, 2019

Part of the role of the Board of Trustees is to advocate for the Calgary Board of Education and the more than 123,000 students that it serves.

The education of students must always be a top priority. Every child deserves to have access to high-quality learning environments that support them in reaching their potential. In addition to this being a moral imperative, ensuring that students are well-educated also ultimately leads to higher economic growth while lowering the cost of social services.

Parents, students, staff and community members have been consistent in saying that more investment in public education is required to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and complex student population. Over the past several months, the Board of Trustees has been actively communicating the following messages to raise awareness of the CBE’s current financial challenges and to advocate for increased supports for students.


For many years, provincial education funding has not kept pace with student population growth and increasing costs (eg. inflation and salary grid movement). The per-student funding graph below has not been adjusted for inflation and shows that the CBE is being funded less overall per student than it was in 2011-12. 

In addition, the majority of the increases in 2015-16 and 2017-18 could not be used to increase supports for students as they were targeted by the Province for other purposes. As a result of insufficient funding, the CBE has reduced non-school based spending in order to prioritize student learning in the classroom and is continually seeking further efficiencies.

*The increase in 2015-16 can be attributed to the 2 percent rise in teacher salaries, and a 1 percent lump sum payment.
*The increase in 2017-18 is due to the Classroom Improvement and an Act to Reduce School Fees funding.

Adequate supports

As the public school board in Calgary, the CBE welcomes all students, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities. Our schools provide support for an increasingly wide range of learning, behavioral, physical and mental health needs. However, the gap in funding between what is provided and what it costs to support students and their learning is also increasing.

Students with complex learning needs

Every year, the CBE receives far less than what it spends in supporting students with complex learning needs. In 2017-18, the CBE spent $136 million, while the province only provided $78 million in funding.

The CBE also spends more than it receives each year in other areas such as:
  • $12 million in transportation costs for learners with complex needs;
  • $1.2 million to support Indigenous education;
  • $5.6 million to support English language learners.
Taken together, we are spending almost $80 million more to support students with additional learning needs than we receive in government funding. To ensure students receive the supports they need, dollars are redirected from the overall budget or reserves to fund these gaps and balance the annual budget.

Investing in the Learning Environment

The CBE has 134 schools that are over 50 years old. The province estimates the CBE’s deferred maintenance on these building is $170 million for immediate needs (e.g. aging roofs and boilers). In addition, during the last school year, the CBE spent $13 million more than what was provided by Alberta Education for the daily operation and maintenance of our schools.
The CBE continues to grow by more than 2,000 students per year. While many new schools have been built, more new schools and major modernizations are needed to keep up with populations growth and the demands of a modern program of studies.
Trustees are working to ensure that the best public education can be delivered to families in Calgary. For more detailed information about Trustee advocacy efforts, please click on the documents below. For more information about the Board of Trustees, please visit the Board of Trustees page. You can also contact the Office of the Board of Trustees at