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Decreased government funding leads to budgetary challenges for St. Paul Education

St. Paul Education’s funding is expected to be reduced by almost half a million dollars, next year.

ST. PAUL – St. Paul Education’s funding is expected to be reduced by almost half a million dollars, next year. 

During the May 8 board of trustees meeting, Secretary-Treasurer Jean Champagne said Alberta Education sent their commitment letter to St. Paul Education for its 2025 funding.  

“Unfortunately, as part of the finalization process, they identified an error in some of their data,” and made some adjustments, he explained. 

This adjustment resulted in a reduction of $148,369 in funding. Additionally, with decreased enrollment and inflationary pressures, St. Paul Education already projected a decrease of $315,885 in funding for next year – resulting to a total funding reduction of $464,254. 

Champagne says these factors lead to a particularly challenging budgetary situation. 

Alberta Education also asked the school division to report how much it spent on carbon tax since 2019. “They’re looking at four years of information here... and when you add it all up, it is significant,” says Champagne. 

He says St. Paul Education spent $434,299 in direct carbon taxes since 2019. 

“We’re not entirely sure what the province would be doing with that information,” Champagne added, but he is hoping the provincial government will advocate for some type of relief to help school divisions. 

According to Champagne, school divisions do not receive carbon tax rebates. For the most part, they are also not eligible for some energy efficiency grants that are usually available to municipalities. 

While the idea of the carbon tax is to be a motivation to reduce carbon emissions, in the case of school divisions, “We don’t really have additional resources to help us,” says Champagne. 

While St. Paul Education is paying the tax, they are not receiving any assistance or benefits in return. This makes it hard for a school division to invest in things like energy-saving upgrades for its buildings, which is what the carbon tax is supposed to encourage, said Champagne. 

“We’re paying into it [carbon tax], and we’re not getting anything back,” he said, adding the $434,299 paid in carbon taxes could have been used in other ways. 


St. Paul Education’s financial statements, available on their website, beginning in 2020 up to 2023, indicate that the division has been in the red for the past few years due to increased operational costs and other expenses, such as increased ASEBP premiums, as well as inflationary factors. 

In 2020, the school division reported a deficit of $508,913. Although they had a surplus of $335,586 in 2021. 

In 2022, the school division budgeted a deficit of $681,055, and dipped into its reserve funds to cover the amount.  

In 2023, the school division budgeted a deficit of $1.09 million, but their actual deficit was $617,136 by the end of the fiscal year in August 2023. Provincial government funding for 2023 remained at about the same at $45 million. 

The 2023-24 fiscal year is ending in August 2024 and the division is budgeting a $1.09 million deficit. The school division budgeted with a decrease of $1.4 million in provincial funding in mind, for the 2024 fiscal year. 

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