Brockville – The Board of Trustees for the Upper Canada District School Board met on Wednesday, June 19 for the last Committee of the Whole meeting for the 2018-19 school year. Several agenda items were discussed, including finalizing and approving the 2019-20 school year budget.
At the beginning of the budget deliberations, which started in early May, UCDSB Trustees were facing a projected $11.7 million deficit. Trustees, alongside Senior staff, met weekly to discuss budget matters and receive the most up-to-date funding figures.
During budget deliberations the Trustees established a set of guiding principles to follow, as they worked through the budget process. These principles included achieving a balanced budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year and to, wherever possible, make use of innovative practices in order to mitigate the impact throughout our educational system.
The budget for the 2019-20 school year, as approved by the Trustees, has resulted in a number of staffing reductions across the system for the 2019-20 school year, including 1 Superintendent position and 2 central office support staff positions, 5 system and school Principal/Vice-Principal positions, 42.33 Teacher positions, 30.3 Educational Assistant, Early Childhood Educator, English Language Learner Instructor and Instructional Assistant positions, 22 school office support staff positions, 22 Learning Commons Informationist positions, 24 Student Support Partner positions, 11 Speech Language Assistant positions, and 1 Psychological Associate position.
“We are aware that people may be upset by some of the decisions that we as a Board have had to make. With many former educators sitting around the Trustee table, we are obviously empathetic to the situation. However, we are also obligated to deliver public education within the funding that has been allocated to us by the Ministry of Education and to deliver budgets that are compliant with government regulations,” explained Chair of the Board John McAllister. “We have endeavored to do this with the least possible impact on the classroom. Although the actual delivery of some programs may look different in the upcoming year, we are confident that the Upper Canada District School Board will be able to provide students with a quality education that meets their needs and prepares them for a successful life.”
Other matters that were discussed during the meeting included, the approving of the Special Education Plan for the 2019-20 school year, a status update for the Director’s Work Plan, and a year-end review report from Student Trustee Bushra Khadra.
The Director’s Workplan update, as presented by Director Stephen Sliwa, indicated that 10 out of 13 key actions have been achieved. These actions focused on the student success support model to help more students graduate; creating a common focus in all elementary schools on social-emotional learning; and increasing the Board’s presence at community events.
Student Trustee Khadra outlined the progress she has made during her term, highlighting the effective use of working group centered on bettering Indigenous Relations, Student Achievement, Student Wellness, and Student Culture within schools. She also reported the work done to help increase awareness of the Student Senate and Student Trustee position. Khadra’s term as Student Trustee will end on July 31, 2019.
All details from the meeting can be watched online at https://bit.ly/2SGUBh2.