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Board of Education approves operating budget for 2021-22

The Saskatoon Board of Education has approved its operating budget for the upcoming academic year, which will see expenses of $287.7 million, an increase of $9.4 million over last year.

Provincial government operating funding increased two per cent ($4.6 million) for the year, which mainly covers the provincially negotiated salary increase for teachers. However, contracted increases for other staff, inflationary costs and rising students' needs are not addressed by this funding, resulting in an $8-million shortfall.

"This shortfall is the result of chronic underfunding from the provincial government, particularly for the inflationary pressures we face every year – our utilities bills are going up, our insurance premiums have increased and our growing enrolment requires resources," said Board Chair Colleen MacPherson. "If we look at per-student funding adjusted for inflation, we're receiving $344 less per student today than we received in 2016-17. As a board, we are frustrated but determined to advocate for sufficient, sustainable and predictable funding for education."

The 2021-22 budget includes the following changes to address the shortfall, including:

  • Reduction of 14 FTE for Central Office positions and 2 FTE for business functions;
  • A 0.5 increase to the division's staffing ratio, resulting in a reduction of 13.5 FTE for elementary teachers and 7 FTE for secondary teachers;
  • Elimination of secondary career facilitators, impacting 2.25 FTE;
  • Reduction of 2.75 FTE for secondary teacher librarians;
  • Reduction of 7 FTE for English as an Additional Language teachers (1.5 FTE secondary and 5.5 FTE elementary);
  • Reduction of 18.4 FTE school support positions, including reduction of elementary library technicians and community school educational assistants; and,
  • 10 per cent reduction to school budget lines and 15 per cent reduction to Central Office budget lines.

At least one layoff is anticipated but the majority of impacted staff will be redeployed. The budget will add one elementary school counsellor and one elementary resource teacher.

MacPherson noted that trustees will continue to push the provincial government to change how funding is distributed for supports for learning, which encompasses educational assistants, special education programs, English as an Additional Language teachers and much more.

"Every school division is treated as having a similar percentage of students requiring additional supports. But our numbers show this is absolutely not the case. We are spending about $11 million more on supports for learning than we receive in funding. We will continue to press for changes that ensure the money flows where it's needed, no matter where students attend school," said MacPherson.

Additional information is included in the Board of Education meeting agenda for June 15, 2021.

Saskatoon Public Schools is the largest school division in the province. It operates 49 elementary schools, 10 secondary schools, one associate school, and one alliance school. It serves approximately 26,000 students and employs more than 2,600 professional and support staff. Learn more at www.saskatoonpublicschools.ca

Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)6/16/2021 10:18 AM
School-year calendar set for 2021-22; first day of classes Sept. 1

All students will begin the 2021-22 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, according to the 2021-22 school year calendar approved by the Board of Education.

The calendar represents a total of 185 instructional days for elementary students and 182 days for collegiate students, with a minimum of 950 hours of instruction.

The calendar was developed in consultation with stakeholder groups as well as other area school divisions. A pre-Labour Day start date allows school divisions to appropriately schedule the required number of instructional hours.

It includes a 17-day winter break around Christmas and New Year's Day, a nine-day break in February that includes the Family Day holiday and a 10-day spring break in conjunction with the Easter long weekend.

The final day of classes for students will be June 29, 2022.

Dates for professional development and school operations days at both the elementary and high school level are still to be determined.

Key dates include:

First day for students: Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021

Winter Break: Last day of classes is Friday, Dec. 17, 2021; classes resume Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022

February Break: Last day of classes is Friday, Feb. 18, 2022; classes resume Monday, Feb. 28, 2022

Spring Break: Last day of classes is Thursday, April 14, 2022; classes resume Monday, April 25, 2022

Final day for students: Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Download a copy of the 2021-22 School Year Calendar 


Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)6/8/2021 2:31 PM
Full-day prekindergarten, kindergarten programs coming to many schools

Prekindergarten.jpgStudents at many schools will receive a boost to their learning with the introduction of full-day prekindergarten and kindergarten classes beginning in September.

Thanks to the support of Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation's Early Learning Equal Start initiative, a full-day prekindergarten class will be offered Monday to Thursday at 13 schools. For kindergarten, 14 schools will have a full-day class running Monday to Friday.

Saskatoon Public Schools offers prekindergarten programming where children may benefit from additional supports such as speech, language, and social development programming. Prekindergarten helps three- and four-year-old children to:

  • develop language and communication skills,
  • develop problem-solving skills,
  • learn to co-operate with others,
  • make new friendships,
  • prepare for the school environment.

Our literacy-enhanced kindergarten program fosters students' understanding of letters, numbers, and writing skills. Kindergarten classes encourage individualized education through play and exploration and follows the provincial curriculum, which includes teaching in arts education, English language arts, health, math, physical education, science, and social studies.

Schools offering both full-day prekindergarten and kindergarten classes for 2021-22 are: Caroline Robins, Caswell, Fairhaven, Howard Coad, King George, Lester B. Pearson, Mayfair, Pleasant Hill, Princess Alexandra, Sutherland, Vincent Massey, wâhkôhtowin (formerly Confederation Park), and W.P. Bate schools. Students who reside within the school catchment area will receive first consideration.

Full-day kindergarten will also be available at North Park Wilson School. A full-day prekindergarten class supported by Métis Nation–Saskatchewan is offered at Westmount Community School.

Families wishing to register their child for prekindergarten or kindergarten should contact the individual school. A full list of schools including contact information is available on the School Listing page.

Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)5/5/2021 9:58 AM
Schools welcome kindergarten registration for 2021-22 school year
 

kindergarten_news2.jpgKindergarten is a special time and place in the life of a young child and Saskatoon Public Schools is dedicated to welcoming every student to a safe and caring environment.

If your child will be five years old by Jan. 31, 2022, they can start kindergarten in the fall of 2021.

In past years schools have held in-person parent information nights during January to share information about kindergarten and the school. In-person events won't be held this year, but information and registration details are available on school websites, and many schools will hold virtual events during April to introduce families to everything kindergarten has to offer.

Staff at all neighbourhood schools are accepting kindergarten registration via email or phone calls. A complete list of all schools along with school websites and contact information is available on the Saskatoon Public Schools website. Each school website has registration information along with a link to the registration form and instructions on how to fill out and submit the form.

Saskatoon Public Schools understands the importance of early learning and literacy. Our kindergarten classes are small to encourage individualized education and include a strong literacy component in kindergarten.

Kindergarten classes are offered on either a half-day, every day or full-day, alternating day format, depending upon the school. Details are available on the kindergarten information page at saskatoonpublicschools.ca/kindergarten or in the kindergarten brochure.

A full-day kindergarten class will be offered at 14 schools thanks to the support of the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation's Early Learning Equal Start program. Those schools are Caroline Robins, Caswell, Fairhaven, Howard Coad, King George, Lester B. Pearson, Mayfair, North Park Wilson, Pleasant Hill, Princess Alexandra, Sutherland, Vincent Massey, wâhkôhtowin, and W.P. Bate. Students who reside within the school's catchment area will receive first consideration.

Seven schools offer both English language and French Immersion kindergarten programs: Alvin Buckwold, College Park, Dundonald, Forest Grove, Lakeview, River Heights, and Silverspring schools. Single-stream French Immersion kindergarten programs are available at École Henry Kelsey and École Victoria.

The Nêhiyâwiwin Cree Language and Culture Program for kindergarten to Grade 8 is located at wâhkôhtowin School and free, city-wide busing is available for students. The Métis Cultural Program, which delivers kindergarten to Grade 8 curriculum from a Métis perspective, is located at Westmount Community School.

*(All images and video were taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic)

 


Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)3/22/2021 11:46 AM