Highlights from Alberta Budget 2017
March 16, 2017
Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, tabled the 2017 Alberta budget on March 16. Below are some highlights of interest to the library and information management community:
Ministry of Education
- Government will eliminate school fees related to instructional supplies or materials and transportation for eligible students to their designated school. This will reduce school fees by $54 million on a school year basis.
School Board Operations
- There is $7.8 billion budgeted for public and separate school board operations in 2017-18. Budget 2017 includes:
- $6 billion for Early Childhood Services to Grade 12 instruction. This funds enrolment growth of 1.8% (about 12,000 students) in 2017-18 (2.2% in 2018-19 and 2.5% in 2019-20). Included is $410 million for teachers’ pension current service payments, with a further $473 million in Treasury Board and Finance to pay for the Teachers’ Pre-1992 Pension Plan payments. Also included is $451 million to support students’ success within an inclusive education system;
- $746 million to operate and maintain schools, including an investment of $118 million in Plant Operations and Maintenance funding, which is being changed from capital investment to operating expense in each year of 2017-20 to reflect the use of the funds by school boards to address minor repairs to maintain school facility operations. The total amount of funding allocated for the infrastructure, maintenance and renewal program is not affected by this transfer;
- $364 million for amortization of existing school facilities;
- $351 million to support student transportation services of which $168 million or 48 per cent is for rural transportation;
- $249 million for governance and system administration; and
- $93 million for program support services.
- There is $263 million budgeted in 2017-18 to support about 100 accredited-funded private schools and almost 100 private operators that provide Early Childhood Services programs.
Ministry of Advanced Education
Advanced Education’s expense is budgeted at $6 billion in 2017-18 (excluding debt servicing costs and non-cash pension provisions). Budget 2017 keeps the government’s commitments to provide stable funding to institutions and ensure the post-secondary system is accessible and affordable for Alberta students and families by continuing to freeze tuition for a third year
- $5.6 billion budgeted in 2017-18 for post-secondary operations, supporting an estimated 265,000 full and part-time students, including apprentices.
- Base operating grant increases to institutions of 2% per year.
- Additional $3.6 million to continue to provide mental health funding for students of post-secondary institutions.
- $85 million budgeted for Foundational Learning Supports in 2017-18.
- This includes $80 million in grants to support eligible Albertans attending programs such as English as a Second Language, basic skills and academic upgrading, or short-term occupational training to help them transition into post-secondary studies and/or find employment. While attending an approved foundational learning program, eligible Albertans receive monthly financial assistance to help them pay their bills and funding for the costs of tuition, books and mandatory fees.
Culture and Tourism
- Budgeted at $351 million in 2017-18
- $115 million for Community and Voluntary Support Services, including $38 million under the Community Facility Enhancement Program and $24 million in funding for Culture and Tourism infrastructure.
- $77 million in support for creative industries, including the Alberta Media Fund.
- $61 million for tourism marketing and development.
- Budgeted at $1.7 billion in 2017-18
- $1.2 billion to municipalities through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative, including $335 million in basic municipal transportation grants.
- $59 million for Grants in Place of Taxes
- $50 million for public library services.
- $500 million for new school projects (2017-21)
- $488 million for future school projects to start in 2018-19
- $2 million for the Edmonton Public Library Stanley A. Milner revitalization project
- $11 million to enhance Alberta’s regional library system