June 19, 2019—Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) approved 2019-2020 operating and capital expense budgets in the amounts of $202,737,725 and $26,900,366, respectively. The overall budget contains an in-year surplus for compliance purposes of $20,007.
Ensuring effective management of all resources is part of the Public Confidence priority of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan: Possibilities Today & Tomorrow. Part of the effective management of all resources includes the setting and monitoring of an annual financial budget which estimates financial revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year. The Education Act has specific requirements for school boards regarding the preparation and adoption of financial estimates (known as budgets).
HPEDSB is on a Ministry of Education-mandated three-year financial recovery plan. This plan was set by trustees three years ago and approved by the Ministry of Education. It mandates that the school board rebuild its reserves and maintain a balanced budget.
The financial recovery plan contains a number of permanent and non-permanent savings measures that include: consolidating/closing schools, reducing staff, reducing department and school budgets, deferring the replacement of technology, and taking a number of other measures with the goal of rebuilding an adequate accumulated surplus by the end of 2018-2019.
The planned last year of the financial recovery plan is 2018-2019, although the Ministry of Education has indicated that school boards are not released from financial recovery plans until the financial statements for the final year are available and the revised estimates for the following year are reviewed to ensure that the board is maintaining a balanced or positive financial position.
Enrolment projections for the purpose of developing the 2019-2020 budget were calculated based on input from schools. These projections show a slight increase for elementary enrolment and a decrease for secondary enrolment. Overall, it is anticipated that the board enrolment for 2019-2020 will be 14,895, a decrease of 37.5 pupils relative to 2018-2019 revised estimates.
The 2019-2020 budget is based on the most recent information on funding released by the Ministry of Education.
The Grant for Student Needs (GSN) funding for 2019-2020 has been significantly reduced in many areas from prior years, notably for elementary and secondary teachers, creating a gap in this area between the cost of teachers deployed to schools and the funding to support that expense. This, coupled with other funding reductions, results in the requirement to continue the savings measures that have been implemented under the financial recovery plan in order to produce a balanced budget.
Among the many changes in funding was the confirmation that the Local Priorities Fund ends on August 31, 2019. This fund supported staffing for support staff and teachers and was part of the extension agreements for all unions. The deployment of these funds over the past two years was done collaboratively with unions with the clear understanding that the funding and the related positions would end August 31, 2019.
The expense budget includes classroom staffing at levels similar to present (no changes in elementary schools, secondary school classes continued at an average class size of 22) and continued savings measures that include a small reduction in support staff.
The Board worked hard to maintain staffing levels similar to last year.
For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, 613-966-1170 or 1 800 267-4350, extension 62354, [email protected]