Headlines

· The Pulse
By Kevin Holowack
Comments

  • Edmonton Public Schools said high enrolment rates are outpacing provincial funding. Despite the district getting more funding than in previous years, the school board estimates that 1,692 full-time students will be without funding as a result of Alberta Education's weighted moving average formula, a method for allocating funds introduced by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange in 2020 that has attracted criticism for neglecting growing metro school boards. "This will be a tight budget for Edmonton Public Schools," said board chair Trisha Estabrooks, who also lamented the lack of capital funding during a recent episode of Speaking Municipally. EPSB's operating budget for 2022-2023 is $1.226 billion with student enrolment of 102,702 full-time equivalents.
  • City council has approved one-time funding of $880,000 for local women's shelters — which are generally funded by the provincial and federal governments — using money freed up from the decision in December to approve a smaller increase to the police budget. The investment will go toward mental and cultural supports, nursing resources, and assistance for people with precarious immigration status. Coun. Jo-Anne Wright said she hopes increasing the shelters' capacity will reduce the number of police calls, including cases where police are called repeatedly to the same situation.
  • City council passed a motion directing administration to further investigate sustainable funding for Edmonton transit. Last week, an interim report outlined ten ways to ensure consistent funding, such as adjusting property taxes and increasing parking fees. Coun. Anne Stevenson also recommended charging people more for sporting and entertainment events to offset transit costs, while Mayor Amarjeet Sohi maintained that long-term solutions to transit costs involves accessing provincial and federal support. Coun. Michael Janz, the sole opponent to the motion, argued that solutions involving "nickel-and-diming drivers" will come across as "very adversarial" to Edmontonians.
  • Edmonton's housing market is the third most affordable in the world, tied with St. Louis, according to new findings from the Urban Reform Institute's Demographia International Housing Affordability Study for 2021, which compared housing costs in 92 markets in eight countries. Vancouver, meanwhile, has the third least affordable housing market in the world.
  • Police have identified several youth suspects in the case of Karanveer Sahota, a 16-year-old who passed away in hospital after being attacked outside McNally High School earlier this month. An autopsy determined that Sahota's death was a homicide. Edmonton Police Association president Staff Sgt. Michael Elliott told CTV News the incident "does beg the question of should the (school resource office) program be looked at again."