Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. Some of the items discussed in the public session are as follows.
Executive Superintendent of Business Services Jeremy Hobbs presented to Trustees the proposed budget for the 2022-2023 school year. This comes after regular budget-related reports over the last few months.
Superintendent Hobbs noted that the total proposed budget sits at $403.5 million. This proposed budget is compliant with the Ministry of Education requirements. $403.3 million of the budget will go toward expenses, the UCDSB anticipants to see a surplus of $0.2 million to remain compliant.
Highlights for the proposed budget include:
$50 million for special education;
$1.3 million for mental health and wellness supports;
$5.2 million in Indigenous education supports;
$600,000 for remote digital learning related to COVID-19;
$1.6 million investment in student technology, which includes $500,000 in broadband network operations funding.
The Superintendent shared that the Ministry of Education has started to shift its focus from managing the COVID-19 pandemic to supporting learning recovery efforts with investments in tutoring and mental health supports. He noted that school boards have been directed by the Ministry of Education to continue to offer remote learning options for the 2022-2023 school year.
Also noted in the proposed budget is $65 million for planned investments in school and child care capital construction, additions, improvements, and retrofits. Additionally, $3 million has been allocated for student success supports to reinforce the 90 per cent graduation rate and $2 million for real-world learning opportunities for students. These include Specialist High Skills Major and Ontario Youth Apprenticeship programs.
Trustees unanimously voted in favour of the budget. It will now go to the Ministry of Education for final approval.
Director’s Work Plan:
Director of Education Ron Ferguson presented an update on the Director’s Work Plan. The areas of focus include graduation rate and student success, student culture, community, and staff culture, which “completion” means that the structure has been set up and work can now continue in these areas.
Student Trustees Update:
Student Trustees Eshal Ali and Bradford Ward provided an update to Trustees regarding their student-led equity and inclusion committee. Both recognize that equity and inclusion is an overly broad subject and are looking to develop working groups that will aim to address specific portions under the equity and inclusion spectrum such as racism, LGBTQ2S+, neurodivergence, learning disorders, disability awareness, and Indigenous peoples.
Trustee Ali shared that Seaway District High School’s Intermediate and Secondary gay, straight alliance along with school staff have been working with their local municipality to propose a rainbow sidewalk be erected in honour of pride month. A presentation will be brought to the Town of South Dundas council on June 13.
Bradford Ward shared that Student Senate will host its final meeting of the 2021-2022 school year on June 3. During the meeting, Ward will be getting a pie in the face by Director Ron Ferguson after the Student Senate’s Green Iglu fundraiser met and surpassed its goal. The fundraiser saw each UCDSB school raise funds for the charity that works with Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario to help address food security and food sovereignty. The original fundraising goal was $5,000 and, in the end, they nearly doubled it to $9,100 and the total keeps on climbing.