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School board approves balanced budget for 2018-2019

Budgets support the board’s new Strategic Plan, and highlight the plan’s three priorities of: equity, culture and innovation
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NEWS RELEASE
DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD ONTARIO NORTH EAST
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At a special meeting on July 10, the Board of Trustees of District School Board Ontario North East approved an Operating Budget of $128,265,644 and a Capital Budget of $10,644,973. The budgets support the Board’s new Strategic Plan, and highlight the plan’s three priorities of: equity, culture and innovation.

“The operating budget for 2018-2019 represents a balanced and compliant budget, showing a slight surplus,” commented Superintendent of Business, Pearl Fong-West. “We have been in a deficit position the past few years, but this year, I am very happy to say that we are in the black.”

“Our balanced and compliant budget is a tremendous good news story for our Board,” commented Director of Education, Lesleigh Dye. “Our senior staff have worked very hard to allocate resources in our areas of greatest need.”

“On behalf of the trustees I want to congratulate Pearl and her staff for the hours of work they put into preparing the budget, and for guiding us as a Board,” added Board Chair, Bob Brush. “We look forward to implementing it over the next school year.”

In keeping with the Board’s new vision of empowering all learners to achieve personal excellence, programs will be maintained in 2018-2019.

The 1:1 iPad program will continue for all students in Grades 5 to 12, along with a 2:1 iPad program in Grades 3 and 4. New iPads will be provided for all Grade 5 students and teachers, and refreshed for all Grade 9 students in September.

Funding allocated earlier this year by the Ministry of Education will address shortfalls in Special Education and Mental Health. The Ministry has also promised to provide support to help Grade 7 and 8 students engage in career and pathways planning. “We are happy we received additional funding for these initiatives, as it really helped in balancing our budget,” added Fong-West.

Other highlights of the budget include: an increase in the number of Early Childhood Educators and Child and Youth Workers, as well as an allocation of 126 Educational Assistants, in accordance with need.

Since amalgamation, enrolment at District School Board Ontario North East has declined significantly. In the 1998-99 school year, the enrolment was 11,578.53. The projected enrolment for 2018-2019 is 6,417.05 -- a decrease of 5,161.48 since 1998-1999, and a decrease of 130.44 since last year.

However, Fong-West admits that the numbers are beginning to balance-out from previous years. “We are now experiencing increases at some of our schools. While we are still experiencing some enrolment decreases in our rural areas, we have made an effort to keep our rural schools open, and we are committed to providing education to those students,” adds Fong-West.

The total number of staff for the 2018-2019 year has been set at 965.65. $86,828,099 million has been allocated to salaries and benefits, in keeping with the continued implementation of negotiated agreements.

The next step in the budget process is the formal submission to the government. The budget will be submitted to the Ministry of Education by July 15.

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