The Saskatoon Board of Education passed its budget for the 2018-19 academic year during a meeting held June 19. The budget includes expenses of $267.7 million, an increase of $8.2 million over last year.
“We’ve had another difficult budget year, where enrolment growth and the needs of our students have outpaced the funding provided by the provincial government,” said Board Chair Ray Morrison.
“Our board tried to make reductions while maintaining a high level of academic programming and student supports. However, as we learned last year, such reductions will impact our students’ experiences.”
While the Government of Saskatchewan restored some funding to school divisions in this year’s provincial budget, this amount falls short of funding levels from the 2016-17 school year. Since then, the school division has seen a $1.9- million decrease in operational funding while adding four new schools and approximately 1,000 new students, when taking into account the projected enrolment increase of 465 for the upcoming school year.
To address the funding shortfall, the board passed a budget that includes the following operational changes:
- Reduction of teacher-librarian allotments to elementary schools;
- Reduction of all non-salary budgets across the division;
- Dissolution of vacant superintendent position;
- Small increase to the collegiate class size ratio; and,
- Minor efficiencies found in transportation to keep costs stable.
The board will draw approximately $1.5 million from operating reserves to address the deficit. The upcoming budget continues support for the board’s two learning priorities, Literacy for Life and Collegiate Renewal. To address enrolment growth and the intensification of student needs, 21.3 FTE classroom teaching positions and 18.3 FTE educational assistant positions will be added.
- Other additions in the budget include:
- 1.0 FTE elementary counsellor;
- 1.0 FTE behaviour consultant;
- Expanding the French Immersion program to Grade 7 at École Dundonald School;
- New Functional Life Skills program at Evan Hardy Collegiate; and,
- One new classroom at John Dolan School.
The school division's full budget report for the 2018-19 academic view can be viewed here