School board passes compliant budget for 2010-2011 school year

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) approved a budget for the 2010-2011 school year in the amount of $193,005,362. This budget is compliant with Ministry of Education requirements.

On March 26, 2010 the Ministry of Education released details of the 2010-2011 Grants for Student Needs (GSN), which allocates funding to Ontario school boards. Due to the economic downturn and resulting impact on provincial revenues, the Ministry of Education has introduced a number of restraint measures as a method of reducing government expenditures. Specific program areas impacted by these restraint measures include Special Education, transportation, school operations and board administration.

“We were faced with challenges during the budget planning process due to the continual decline in enrolment and reductions in Ministry of Education funding. We are pleased to have worked through it to come to a compliant budget. We continue to focus on student learning and service to community,” remarked Carl Pitman, Chair of the Board.

For the past number of years HPEDSB has experienced enrolment decline, first in elementary schools and now in secondary schools. Over the past four years, enrolment has declined by almost 2,000 students, including 640 projected for the 2010-2011 school year.

The combined impact of declining enrolment and government restraint measures impact the budget by approximately $1.8 million.

Included in the budget are expenditure reductions of $1.3 million, including the following:

• $723,000 for a reduction in Special Education staffing, including:

o 1.50 central office coordinators
o 5.66 teachers
o 5.00 educational assistants

• $250,000 for a reduction in 5.00 operations and maintenance positions
• $250,000 for a delay in computer replacements
• $50,000 for Education Centre departmental budgets
• $75,000 representing a 50% reduction in the additional support provided to secondary schools for textbooks

The above-noted adjustments do not completely offset the funding shortfall and leave a projected in year deficit of $508,000. Under new budget compliance guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education, the resulting budget will be in compliance as the in-year deficit of $508,000 is less than 1% of operating revenue ($1.7 million).

During the 2010-2011 school year HPEDSB will undertake a number of large capital projects as a result of school consolidations in North Hastings and West Belleville. These projects compose the bulk of the $13 million capital budget. These capital projects are all funded by the Ministry of Education through various capital funding initiatives.

Many factors .will impact on funding beyond 2010-2011. Enrolment decline will continue. Many of the fiscal restraints (grant adjustments) introduced by the Ministry of Education in the past two years will have either a multi-year or ongoing impact. All operational areas of HPEDSB will be reviewed, both in staffing and non-staffing areas, for possible long-term savings and efficiencies that are permanent in nature.

Areas to be reviewed include the following:

• Staffing
Currently only teacher staffing formulas ensure staffing numbers change as enrolment changes.
Over the coming school year, all support and administrative complements will be reviewed.

• Non-staffing
Discretionary budgets at the Education Centre are currently under review. Other fixed costs, such as repairs, maintenance and renovations, are based on the number of board facilities that are in operation. It will be necessary to pursue additional accommodation reviews. Updated enrolment projections, school utilization rates, and operational costs and revenues for each location will need to be analyzed with the goal to create a long-term capital plan that reflects the board’s needs and culture.

• Revenue generation
All possible sources of revenue generation/maximization will be pursued. While limited somewhat by legislation in possible courses of action, one area that should be analyzed is the use of school space. Under the province’s new Facility Partnership guideline, the use of school space by outside agencies/groups should be on a cost recovery basis.

While some reductions were necessary in order to achieve a compliant budget, the resulting budget retains the integrity of programs and services, and continues to support the AiM—Achievement in Motion for Student Success System Plan.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, 613-966-1170 or 1 800 267-4350, extension 2354, [email protected]

Last updated: June 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm
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