Review into Calgary Board of Education finances, governance to begin 'immediately'

The Calgary Board of Education's money management and governance is officially under a microscope. 

The province announced on Thursday that it had formally launched an independent, external review to examine the finances and governance of the CBE. It will be led by Grant Thornton LLP and begin immediately. 

In a release, the province said the review was deemed necessary after the board demonstrated an "inability to appropriately manage its finances following a series of questionable decisions."

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said she expects all boards to prioritize the educational experience of Alberta's students. And, with an operating budget of $1.2 billion, she believes the CBE has many options available that would allow it to operate within its budget.

"While still providing students with a world-class, high-quality education," she said. "My hope is that this inquiry will provide context to recent board decisions, so we can provide them with much-needed guidance."

The report is expected to cost between $100,000 and $125,000, and is due to LaGrange by Jan. 31, 2020. 

LaGrange's intention to do the review was announced in late November, after the CBE said it would have to cut more than 300 temporary teaching contracts to bridge the gap created by a $32-million funding reduction. 

Those positions were officially reinstated earlier this week by the CBE, after LaGrange told school boards they'd be able to have one-time access to maintenance funds. The CBE used $15 million from those funds and retroactively increased transportation fees, among other moves, to save the teaching positions.