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World-Class Education: Wildrose would improve funding for special needs students and mental health

FORT McMURRAY, AB (April 27, 2015): A Wildrose government would increase supports for special needs students and boost funding for mental health supports, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean announced today.

“With the Prentice PCs spurring on larger class sizes after years of neglect, it’s critical we make sure we give proper support to special needs students and improve mental health funding,” Jean said. “Our plan is realistic, affordable and ensures we give teachers, parents and most importantly, students, the supports they need.”

The commitment is outlined in Standing Up for Albertans: Wildrose’s Five Priorities.

Currently, the Prentice PC plan reduces funding for special needs supports by 1.9 per cent, or roughly $7 million, putting classrooms and quality of education for students at risk.

The reversal of this cut to special needs students will be supplemented through the almost $8 million saved by over budgeting the costs for scrapping school fees.

Under a Wildrose government, ESL and mental health programs will also get a boost through reallocating $10 million from the Education department budget.  Most if not all of that will come from the funds spent by the PCs on misguided curriculum revision every year, and it will be sent to the boards most affected by an increase in student numbers this year. They can choose whether adding ESL or mental health supports is the bigger priority.

“Investments in mental health provide kids with the tools and support they need as early as possible, and helps reduce bigger problems for these students as they become adults,” Jean said. “Our announcement today is all about making sure our education system is about investing in our next generation and giving our families and students the supports they need to succeed.”