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2017-18 Provincial Budget
The March 22 provincial budget announcement affected many aspects of our daily lives, including the education of your children—the reason we exist as a school division. Realizing you have many questions, we are sharing some information with you in the interest of transparency and accountability.
What happened to K-12 education funding in the province?
Education funding in the province was reduced by $22 million provincially. When you account for the fact that fiscal years with the province and school divisions are different, the decrease in real dollars is just over $54 million (-2.8%) for the 2017-18 school year. There were no additional funds to account for growth of 2,000 more students and 20 new schools in the province. There are more students sharing a smaller pool of funding, resulting in less funding per student.
What does that mean for Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools?
We need to reduce our year-over-year expenditures by $1.25 million. We will add six new schools and an estimated 550 more students. This reduces our per-student funding in 2017-18 by 3.9% compared to 2016-17, or about $400 less per student. Because funding for growth doesn't increase our year-over-year funding (it merely makes our reduction smaller), we need to reassign $8.4 million of resources within the division. That means we have an accumulative shortfall of $9.65 million. We cannot continue with the current level of services.
What does that mean for my child at Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools?
Our Board of Education is committed to doing everything we can to maintain the current student-teacher ratio. However, the levels of support and services that will be available for students, teachers and families will be affected. This could include, but is not limited to, changes to governance and administration, transportation, reassigning staff, and changes to classroom supports.
We will be reviewing various scenarios over the coming weeks and months. We share your concern for your children and our staff who support their education.
When will I know more specifics?
Our budget needs to be submitted to the Government of Saskatchewan by June 30. Our board and senior administration will need to make decisions before then. We do not have a specific target date, but we will communicate with you when decisions are made.
What about governance changes that were proposed in the Perrins Report?
Thanks in large part to overwhelming public feedback supporting publicly-elected boards of education and speaking out against amalgamations, the government announced there will be no amalgamations. The Ministry of Education is reviewing the
Education Act, 1995
and are exploring changes to legislation and regulations that may limit the autonomy and authority of boards.
May God continue to bless us,
Diane Boyko, Board of Education Chair
Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools
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