Today, the provincial government released their annual budget. Like many Albertans, I was watching this closely to get a sense of the government’s priorities for the coming year. There have been clues over the last month of what these priorities are. I suspected this budget would hit the most vulnerable Albertans, our children and our lasting legacy, the hardest. And I was right.
I have been on the doorsteps talking to families in Wards 11 and 13 since December, when I first launched my school board trustee campaign. While parents are proud of our city, our communities and our schools, we are struggling with an underfunded education system. Albertans do not want our budget to be balanced on the backs of our children. Albertans are telling me loudly and clearly that we need fully funded public education in our communities.
As a CBE Trustee I will be a strong voice to advocate for students, for families and for Calgarians to make sure education is a priority for our government. If our students were a city, we would be the third largest city in Alberta and that population will continue to grow each year. As Minister Campbell stated, a strong education system is essential to support Calgary’s and Alberta’s strengths and growth.
Calgarian families have been sharing with me their solutions and coping mechanisms: picking up and moving from one neighbourhood to another to access sufficient space in their local school; some families are forced to make the difficult choice of pulling their children from public school to go into private school. Having children leave is no way to build a strong public education system or a strong community.
I want every child in our education system to have the same opportunity as the next for success. I am inspired by the education system we have, but I know we can innovate, collaborate and build an even better public education system in the face of a difficult budget. I bring the creative leadership that is needed to accommodate the demands of our province while advocating for our students.