Fraser Institute News Release: Per-student spending on Alberta public schools up nearly 18% -- mainly for salaries, pensions and benefits

Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - September 06, 2017) - Per-student spending in Alberta public schools increased nearly 18 per cent over the past decade, with the vast majority of all increased spending going to teacher and staff compensation, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

"Contrary to what we often hear, education spending on public schools in Alberta has increased significantly," said Angela MacLeod, policy analyst with the Fraser Institute's Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education and co-author of Education Spending and Public School Enrolment in Canada, 2017.

The study finds that total spending on public schools in Alberta increased from $5.2 billion in 2005/06 to $8.3 billion in 2014/15, the most recent year of available Statistics Canada data.

This nearly 60 per cent increase in spending far exceeds the 14 per cent increase in public school enrolment in Alberta over the same period.

In fact, on a per-student basis (after adjusting for inflation) spending increased from $11,157 in 2005/06 to $13,115 in 2014/15 -- an increase of 17.5 per cent.

Crucially, according to a companion study on education spending also released today, teacher and staff compensation (salaries, pensions and benefits) accounted for 82.8 per cent of that increased spending, rising from $3.8 billion in 2005/06 to $6.4 billion in 2014/15.

"In critical policy discussions, especially those that affect our children's education, it's important to understand exactly what's happening with public education spending -- how much money is being spent and where it's going," MacLeod said.

Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter and Facebook

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

Contact Information:

Angela MacLeod, Policy Analyst, Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education
Fraser Institute

To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:

Bryn Weese
Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
Office: (604) 688-0221 ext. 589