Earlier this year, the Alberta Government created the Classroom Improvement Fund to give more power to teachers about how resources should be allocated to schools. The government set aside $75 million for the 2017-18 year, and school boards and teachers can make joint proposals to ask for some of that money.
Cam McKeage, the Superintendent of the Prairie Land Regional Division, said his division received around $250,000
"It has a lot of connections to rural Alberta. It's meant to make the classroom experience better for students," he explained. "With that being said, with some declining enrollments we have declining budgets and this extra infusion of dollars going into our school jurisdiction goes directly to those classrooms where we have otherwise lost some of those resources."
McKeage revealed that only around half the schools in the division are receiving money from the fund this year.
"It gives the people in the know, meaning the teachers, access to resources. They know where the needs are needed and they can inject those dollars in accordingly."
The government has loose guidelines about what it considers a worthy reason to request funds, including support staff, in-class resources, literacy support and professional development expenses.
"It can be instruction, it can be resources, anything where the need is not being met," elaborated McKeage. "The schools themselves can dictate where those dollars go. But, they will be going into classrooms."
The Classroom Improvement Fund is part a bargaining agreement reached between the Alberta Teachers' Association and the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association.