Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board passed the 2018-19 budget at their last meeting. The budget details $370.4 million in operating expenses and outlines $44.8 million in capital expenses. It also includes a projected operating deficit of $1.8 million, said Superintendent of Business Robert Backstrom.
For the 2018-19 year, Upper Canada will receive supplemental funds to better prepare students and staff for the realities faced in today’s classroom environment. Some of the key investments focus on Ministry of Education initiatives, such as Addressing Waitlists for Assessments and Increasing Services in Special Education, Mental Health Workers in Schools, Preparing for Success in High School in relation to grades 7 and 8 students, and expanding the experiential learning component of the Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy.
Superintendent Backstrom presented to Trustees a detailed account of what senior staff identified to be various budget pressures earlier in the Spring, and how staff have addressed these matters in the proposed budget while ensuring ministry compliance requirements were achieved. The budget continues to fully support student learning and achievement while ensuring sound financial stewardship.
“I am very proud of the work of Trustees and senior staff in bringing together a Ministry compliant budget during what is always a very challenging process,” said Chair Jeff McMillan of the 2018 budget deliberations. “What has resulted is a budget that responsibly addresses today’s fiscal realities.” He stressed that student programming remains a priority under the new budget, and will continue to serve as a key factor in all Board decisions.
Director of Education’s Work Plan and Status Update: Director Stephen Sliwa presented a report on progress made under the 2017-18 Director of Education’s Work Plan. The plan outlines 18 separate actions that direct and define the efforts of senior staff to support priorities identified by the Board of Trustees. The status update showed significant progress under the four overarching goals of Graduation Rate, Staff Culture, Student Culture, and Community outlined in the plan. Projects that are progressing well, or have been achieved, include: the development and introduction of a Family of Schools Credit Accumulation Tracking and Support Team; enhancement of human resources on a site-by-site basis to further existing efforts to personalize instructional strategies; creating materials to connect school staff, and central department staff, to the Strategic Plan; implementing wellness goals at all schools as part of the SIPSA cycle of inquiry using the Healthy Schools Framework; and creating a discussion table with community leaders regarding career education and experiential learning.