Saskatchewan Catholic school board sees government funding, but still faces deficit – Saskatoon


$20 million was announced by Saskatchewan’s Department of Education in July to offset inflationary costs school divisions are facing across the province, but a Catholic school board in Saskatoon says it wasn’t enough.

Of that funding, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Division (GSCS) received $1.3 million, but said it was far from what it needed to avoid decisions such as imposing tuition fees. midday.

The GSCS Board of Education held its meeting on Monday and on the agenda was the motion to approve an amended budget with the additional $1.3 million.

According to the document, the funding the board received only partially covered the $3 million it said was initially needed to run the same services for the 2021-22 school year.

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“The budget had to be passed, and the government asked us to look in two areas – in transport – and in insurance, and we asked the administration of the council to look at this and put them in these two areas specific, and that’s where our share of that $20 million went,” said Diane Boyko, GSCS Board Chair.

Boyko said that covered part of the $3 million shortfall, but added that since June the costs had increased.

“So the $1.3 million covered some of that, but of course we’re still looking for dollars.”

She said they have done their best to stop the cuts in the classroom, but some situations are impossible.

“As our board has always told the administration, we try to stay away from the classroom, but we’ve also had to make sure that because things are so tight, we do the best we can. to make sure he stays away from it. But it’s gotten to this point where things get impossible,” Boyko said.

GSCS has 50 schools within its school division and has nearly 20,000 students.

The additional funding listed in the report says $604,848 would cover the hiring of 4.5 additional teachers, three additional teacher assistants and cover other inflationary employment costs.

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$185,640 would cover inflationary increases in utilities and insurance, with the report saying insurance premiums were rising, as well as school replacement costs.

The amended budget also allocated an additional $513,039 to cover rising gasoline prices, with budget projections raised to an average price of $1.75 per liter for the entire school year.

The total of $1,303,527 allocated to cover these expenses represents a 0.6% increase in the total projected operational costs for the school year, originally set at $219,651,167.

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The board announced in June that it would eliminate 19 teaching positions, but also expected 400 more students for next year.

Boyko said that number has increased and they are looking at around 735 more students.

An annual fee was also announced, noting that $70 was required for lunchtime supervision for students who stay in school for lunch.

Part-time kindergarten students had to pay $35 per year, and fees were capped at $140 per family.

Saskatchewan School Board Association president Shawn Davidson said the $20 million handed out by the province was certainly helpful, but not solving all the problems.

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“Has it gone far enough to allow school divisions to reverse all the tough decisions they had to make in May and June when they passed their initial budget? No, it’s not,” Davidson said.

He said it was a very difficult budget year and every school board in the province had to make changes.

Davidson said reliable, long-term funding was needed.

“We have long been asking the government to really invest in education. In fact, we haven’t seen the government invest in education for several years.

Premier Scott Moe criticized the news when a lunchtime fare was announced, saying on June 10 that school divisions should dip into their “ample reserves.”

“The Minister of Education mentioned that there are many reserves in many, if not all, school divisions in the province,” Moe said.

“Before a school division charges parents extra dollars for lunchtime recess…they should definitely consider using some of the reserves that have grown over the past few years.”

Global News contacted the Ministry of Education and received the following statement:

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“The Government of Saskatchewan is providing Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions with a one-time investment of $20 million for the 2022-23 school year to help them deal with rising fuel and insurance costs. With these additional funds, school divisions will be able to prevent inflationary costs from diverting resources from classrooms,” the statement read.

“In addition to the $20 million funding announcement, Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions will receive $1.99 billion in school operating funding for the 2022-23 school year, an increase of 29.4 million or 1.5% from the 2021-2022 school year. This will provide $6 million for additional classroom supports and will fully fund the 2% salary increase for teachers. This increase is supplemented by $7 million to allow school divisions to hire up to 200 new teacher assistants for the 2022-2023 school year.

“While government provides funding to school divisions for the delivery of programs, supports and services, school divisions are responsible for making decisions within their allocated budget to meet local priorities and meet the needs of their students and teachers.

— with files by Andrew Benson

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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