The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) is involved in its annual budget planning process, focusing on developing a new budget to support the priorities of the school district for the 2019-2020 school year.
To date, the Board of Trustees has received informational reports and updates from staff that included a general review of education funding and expenses, a brief overview of the Government of Ontario 2019-2020 Budget highlights, and highlights of the Ministry of Education (MOE) Grants for Student Needs (GSN) funding for 2019-2020. Although the Board is awaiting technical documents from the MOE, preliminary calculations done by UCDSB financial staff based on information received to date show the UCDSB is facing a budget gap of approximately $11.7 million for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Board understands the necessity of achieving a balanced budget for the 2019-2020 operational year and, as part of that mandate, have asked staff to provide a range of areas of possible reduction for consideration; and recommendations for budget priorities including both additions and reductions.
Based on current expenses and 2019-2020 funding, the following areas exceed revenue allocated for such purposes:
- Special Education
- Supply teachers
- School office staffing
- Rural Guidance Counsellor Project
As requested by the Board, staff have highlighted possible areas of reductions for review and deliberation by Trustees, such as:
- potential reduction of Early Childhood Educator positions in classrooms to align with new funding allocation;
- potential reduction of secondary programming Student Success Teacher positions to align with new funding allocation;
- potential reduction of school office support staff (regular day school operations) positions to align with funding allocation;
- re-allocation of funds from the Rural & Northern Education Program 2-year pilot that supported additional resources for a Rural Guidance Counsellors program;
- potential reduction of positions to central office administrative staff and TR Leger/continuing education staff;
- potential reductions from program department through attrition, layoffs, and reorganization of current program commitments;
- potential reduction in System Principal and System Teacher assignments where funding for the positions is not provided by specific ministry grants; and
- gradual reductions in Special Education expenditures to improve alignment with the actual Special Education funding allocation, while maintaining essential commitments to students / student programs.
“It’s clear that we will have a lot to consider in the coming weeks. The Board of Trustees will work with staff and the recommendations provided to us to pass a budget that meets Ministry of Education requirements and the needs of our students and staff,” said Chair of the Board John McAllister.