Stay-at-home Pre-K Parent Subsidy Cuts
Mine may not be a popular view among Early Childhood Educators and those advocating for our profession, however, I do recognize the need for budget cuts and would rather see them here than somewhere more critical. There are absolutely valid points made for both sides so this is a case for 'do the pros outweigh the cons?'.
This is the letter Early Childhood and School Age Care providers are passing around for submission to MLAs and the Minister of Education:
I am writing today to express my concerns over the Alberta Provincial Budget tabled on October 24, in particular with the stay-at-home parent subsidy. Specifically, my concerns are:
Students, families and programs were asked to wait six months for a budget and are now being told mid school year that the funding will be cut off as of December 31, 2019.
The inability to concentrate and augment funding to our next generation of Albertans is an assault to children and their families who can no longer afford access to the programs and to operators who are now faced with the personal decision to waive the fees or lose students; both having a catastrophic result on funds.
Unlike teachers in the public school system who gross an annual income of $100,000.00, many preschool teachers only receive a small fraction of that number in some cases below $24,000.00 per school year without benefits. With the stay-at-home parent subsidy being removed, numbers will be affected and programs will face lay offs, salary cuts and reduced cash flow to purchase much needed resources, supplies and equipment.
Children who will no longer be able to attend programming will miss out on important screening which normally takes place in the early years of education. A minor speech or motor delay that could have been treated with a few visits with an on-site therapist may lead to a major gap when entering the public school system in kindergarten; thus costing even more tax payers dollars down the road.
Preschoolers deserve to experience the Alberta Advantage this government speaks of and it is my hope that the government will recognize the importance of early childhood education in Alberta.
Ultimately, I am urging people to come to their own conclusions. Money doesn't come from nowhere and cuts are going to happen to get our great province out of debt that was created by overextending our budget in order to create programs that, for the most part, were wonderful, but ultimately non-critical.
Again, form your own opinions; Do the research; and, please, no matter where your values and opinions take you, send them in to your MLA as well as the appropriate Ministers so they are better able to make an educated decision.