Students Count Team calls for Freeze and Forensic Audit of all International Travel

September 11, 2017

Calgary – Research done by the Students Count Team shows that due to high overhead costs within the CBE the international travel program has a much larger cost than has been previously disclosed.  Three head office staff have travelled to Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Colombia, Mexico, Lebanon, Brazil, Germany, Vietnam, China, England, South Korea, Japan, Chile, Jordan, Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, and France in the past 3 years costing our classrooms over $250K.

Previously, CBE assured the public the costs of the program are small.  However, in their updates to their foreign recruitment partners CBE admits a 15% finders fee is paid to foreign recruiters, in addition to the 22% for administration of the program. A 37% total administrative cost is excessive. Deduct from this the costs that should be allocated for plant, operations and maintenance, as well as ESL services, and it is easy to see the true costs are much higher than reported.  With a budget deficit this year, it’s imperative that any unnecessary spending be reduced.

 “We have administrative staff jetting around the globe while asking single moms working 3 jobs, to pay for educational assessments for their children.  At the doors I've met so many Calgarians that are out of work and struggling just to get by…they’re going to be disgusted that we pay CBE staff to jet around the globe…it's incredibly out of touch,” stated Mike Bradshaw of Students Count and candidate in Wards 12 & 14. 

This is a pattern we have seen too often with this Board – failing to oversee operations and ensure educational dollars are actually reaching the classroom.

“In announcing she was not running again, the current Chair of the CBE said there weren’t millions of dollars hiding in a basement…that’s because they’ve been wasted on a jet set lifestyle for staff!  It is concerning that when trustees found out two years ago this was happening, they refused requests to look into this matter,” added Bradshaw

Students Count supports opening our doors to international students.  We know that Calgary is a diverse city and can benefit from increased exposure to international programs.  But we also believe there is an obligation to ensure there is proper accounting of these programs, and it is not acceptable foreign publications are getting more information than Calgarians are.

Students Count commits that should there be no action taken by either the CBE or the provincial government prior to October 16th, that the first order of business for the new Board will be a motion for a freeze on all international travel for head office staff and forensic audit of all international travel with the results being made public.

“Education Minister Eggen has just completed his review of the CBE finances and I look forward to what response the province has to a 37% administrative cost and extensive international travel,” concluded Bradshaw.

Students Count is a team of 5 candidates running throughout Calgary on 5 key points including greater accountability 

Backgrounder Attached

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Media Contact:
Kelley Charlebois
587 885-0824
media@studentscount.ca