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

$20 million announced from the Ministry Education back in July to offset the cost of inflation school branch are being seen across the province, but a Saskatoon Catholic education board says that’s not enough.

Of that funding, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) division received $1.3 million, but said that was far from what it needed to avoid decisions like imposing fees. lunch time.

The GSCS Board of Education held a meeting on Monday, and on the agenda was a proposal to adopt a revised budget with an additional amount of $1.3 million.

According to the document, the funding the board received included only a fraction of the $3 million it initially said was needed to run similar services during the 2021-22 school year.

Read more:

Catholic schools in Saskatoon to cut 19 teaching positions, charge lunch rooms

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“The budget needed to be passed, and the government asked us to look at two areas – in transport – and insurance, and we let the council administration look at that and put them in two specific sector, and that’s where we share Diane Boyko, chairman of the board of GSCS, of that $20 million.

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

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

She said that they tried their best to prevent class cuts, but some situations were not possible.

“As our board has always told the board, we try to stay out of the classroom, but we also have to make sure that, because things are so tight, we’re trying our best. possible to ensure that the class is maintained away from there. But there came a time when things became impossible,” said Boyko.

GSCS has 50 schools in its school system, and has nearly 20,000 students.

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

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$185,640 will cover inflation increases for utilities and insurance, with the report saying premiums are rising, as well as replacement costs for schools.

The revised budget also allocates an additional $513,039 to cover the increase in gas prices, with the budget expected to be raised to an average price of $1.75 per liter for the entire school year.

The total $1,303,527 allocated to cover these costs is a 0.6% increase over the total projected operating expenses for the school year, which was initially set at $219,651,167.

Read more:

Education Board 2022-23 budget ‘extremely disappointing’, says Federation of Saskatchewan Teachers

In June, the board announced that it would be eliminating 19 teaching positions, but also expected an additional 400 students for next year.

Boyko said that number has grown and they are looking at about 735 additional students.

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

Part-time kindergarten students are charged $35 annually, and fees are capped at $140 per family.

Saskatchewan School Boards Association President Shawn Davidson said the $20 million distributed by the province was certainly helpful, but did not solve all the problems.

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“Did it go far enough to allow school campuses to reverse all the tough decisions they had to make in May and June when they went over their original budget? No, no,” Davidson said.

This has been a very difficult budget year, he said, and each education board in the province has had to make some changes.

Davidson said there is a need for reliable, long-term funding.

“We have been calling on the government to really invest in education for quite some time now. We actually haven’t seen the government invest in education in a number of years. “

Premier Scott Moe criticized the news when a lunchtime fee was announced, saying again on June 10 that school campuses should draw from their ‘plentiful reserves’.

“The education minister mentioned that there are many, if not all, reserves of general schools across the province,” Moe said.

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

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

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“The Government of Saskatchewan is providing Saskatchewan’s 27 school campuses with a one-time investment of $20 million in funding for the 2022-23 school year to support rising fuel and insurance costs. As a result of these additional funds, school campuses will be able to stem the cost of inflation from diverting resources away from classrooms,” reads the statement.

“In addition to the $20 million funding announcement, Saskatchewan’s 27 school campuses will receive $1.99 billion in school operational grants for the 2022-23 school year, an increase of $29.4 million or 1.5% compared to the school year 2021-22. This sum will provide $6 million to further support the classroom and fully fund a 2% increase in teacher salaries. In addition to this increase, there is also $7 million available to enable school divisions to hire up to 200 new educational assistants for the 2022-23 school year.

“While the government provides funding to school campuses to provide programs, supports, and services, school campuses are responsible for making decisions within their allocated budgets. to meet local priorities and address the needs of students and their teachers.”

– with files from Andrew Benson

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

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