As we reflect this month, we are pleased to report that once again, the CBE has educational and financial results that make us proud, and students, parents, staff who are focused on doing excellent work. We are grateful to do this work in a community that strongly supports public education.
Positive year-end finances
The Board received the 2014-15 audited financial statements in early December. Once again, independent, external auditors have confirmed that the CBE is a well-managed organization.
An $11 million surplus, which amounts to less than one per cent of our budget, will be added to our reserves. The surplus comes from two main sources: belt tightening and investment returns. Service unit spending decreased in the face of economic uncertainty, while the CBE capitalized on investment returns earned over the past few years.
The CBE will also be making several one-time investments using our reserves. These investments in student success include boosting staff in schools to advance school development plans, providing graduation coaches to support the unique learning needs of our Aboriginal students, equipping new schools as needed, addressing this fall’s transportation challenges, and enhancing technology by upgrading our wireless capacity in all schools.
Service units support student success
The CBE is the second largest Calgary employer with nearly 14,000 employees. While the majority of our staff are teachers or other school-based staff, we also have many employees who contribute to student success in other ways through our seven service units. These service units support the great work our teachers and schools do every day.
At a December Board meeting we learned more about the work of these service units. To see more about how schools are supported by service units, please view the video and article at our cbe.ab.ca News Centre.
CBE welcomes refugees
Trustees are proud to lead a school system that provides a wide range of supports for new Canadians. With an estimated 500 families from Syria expected to arrive in Calgary in December, the CBE has plans in place to make them welcome.
The new families and students will begin at Kingsland Reception Centre, where an admissions team and other professionals will assess the children's language proficiency.
Most students are expected to be enrolled in the LEAD (Literacy, English and Academic Development) program. This program focuses on English Language Development and numeracy. Teachers are trained to assist students in adjusting to their new life. The program is offered at various CBE schools and additional classes are being established to meet the increased need. Some of the new Canadian students will attend their community schools. The CBE offers a variety of services to assist schools, including English Language Learning support, diversity support, interpreters and psychologists.
We look forward to welcoming these new students to our schools where they will learn, make new friends and discover their talents and interests in our safe and caring environments.
Looking forward to an engaging year
As we begin a new calendar year, we look forward to the evolution and development of the CBE’s new system-wide approach to public engagement. This reflects a commitment to involving people in decisions that affect them.
We thank the many students, parents, CBE staff members, and members of the public who have participated to date in helping the CBE develop its framework. We will continue to update you as this important work proceeds.
Learn more at www.cbe.ab.ca/dialogue