Division News Article

Joint Statement: Impact of the Provincial Budget

November 29th, 2019

The following information is being shared with families of students in Pembina Hills. Schools will send letters home with students on Friday, November 29th. Schools with alternate calendars that do not have school on November 29th will send letters home on Monday, December 2nd. 


The board and senior administration have been reviewing the impact of the recent provincial budget on Pembina Hills School Division. Two major factors have emerged that impact the current school year.

1. Education Funding

While the basic per-student grant was maintained, other grants were eliminated. While we received a one-time transition grant, the amount does not completely fill the gap.

  • This year’s One-time Transition Grant – $2,087,000
  • Previous Class Size Grant – loss of $1,670,642
  • Previous School Fee Reduction Grant – loss of $ 405,651
  • Previous Classroom Improvement Fund – loss of $ 843,606
  • The difference in funding means that our school division will receive $832,899 less than last year.

2. Cost of Insurance

There has been an unprecedented increase in insurance premiums.

  • In 2018-2019, the Board’s total insurance cost was $ 362,950
  • In 2019-2020, the Board’s total insurance cost will be $ 984,133
    • Property insurance increased 276%; an increase of $584,363
    • Vehicle insurance increased 18%; an increase of $20,838
    • Liability insurance increased 30%; an increase of $15,982
  • The combined impact of increased costs for property insurance, liability insurance and vehicle insurance is $621,183.

Together, these two factors combined to negatively impact the budget for Pembina Hills School Division by $1,454,082.

Therefore, the board has passed the following motion:

That, in an attempt to address the shortfalls in the current budget, and in anticipation of a change to the funding framework, the Board approves the following changes to take effect during the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year:

    • Eliminate division/school funded food for division/school/board events or meetings.
    • Eliminate out of division professional development for staff/board (pre-approved professional development will be honoured)
      • Vista Virtual professional development should occur in Edmonton for the Vista Virtual Edmonton employees, and in Calgary for the Vista Virtual Calgary employees
    • Conduct the PHSD Satisfaction Survey in an online format only
    • Eliminate the Leadership Cohort
    • Eliminate three division teacher coordinator positions
    • Eliminate the relocation incentive
    • List for sale the division rental property in Swan Hills, Alberta
    • Discontinue the publishing of the Board News in the local papers in January 2020

This motion will supersede any current Administrative Procedures (AP’s) and Board Policies that reference the above decisions.

Pembina Hills School Division is making every effort to find further efficiencies that maximize our budget while ensuring our students receive an excellent education. While this budget has required us to make difficult choices, our intent was to minimize impacts on staff and to prioritize the educational experience of our students.

Further information can be found on our website under the Board Minutes and Agenda – specifically at https://bit.ly/34pHeYV.

Jennifer Tuininga, Board Chair                                                  David Garbutt, Superintendent of Schools