2023-24 budget update
Slava Icycy Xhresty! Glory Be to Jesus Christ!
In mid-May, we wrote to inform you of a funding gap and some tough financial decisions we were faced with for the 2023-24 school year. A lot has happened since then, so we write you to provide an update.
There are three areas we need to touch on, so this message is longer than we prefer. The three areas are:
- 2022-23 fiscal year-end;
- 2023-24 fiscal year increased enrolment funding; and
- 2023-24 fiscal year increase in class complexity funding
2022-23 fiscal year-end
Because of inflationary pressures and unprecedented in-year student enrolment growth, we will end the 2022-23 fiscal year in a significant deficit position—something the division has not done in the past 10 years.
Our federal and provincial governments’ strong action on immigration has boosted our population and our potential for social and economic prosperity. Since September 30, 2022 (when we report official enrolment for funding) we have welcomed over 800 students that are essentially unfunded. A majority of these students have registered in a few schools, which has added significant costs such as converting space into classrooms, classroom teachers, transportation, and English as an additional language supports. The Board submitted two formal requests for funding to the Ministry of Education, both of which were denied.
Inflationary increases continue to exert pressure on expenses—such as transportation, utilities and insurance—that have pushed us into a negative balance. Our division does not have unrestricted reserves to cover the deficit, so contingency funds in restricted reserves will be used to bring us to balance, which will have the following impacts:
- Student furniture that is older than 30 years will not be replaced.
- Several leaking roofs and cooling systems will not be replaced.
- Planned investment in wireless connectivity and network upgrades will be delayed.
- Planned renewal of curriculum resources will be delayed.
- Planned summer programming will be impacted.
- Future year budgets will need to be reduced to allow for contingency funds since the school division will now be in an unrestricted reserves deficit position.
2023-24 fiscal year increased enrolment funding
On June 1, 2023, the Minister of Education Dustin Duncan announced funding of $20 million to fund provincial enrolment growth over projections for the 2023-24 school year.
If you recall, provincial enrolments as of September 30, 2022, surpassed projections, so the government announced additional funding in November. This new funding recognizes that projections made in January 2023 will most likely be exceeded this coming year.
This new funding for 2023-24 is totally dependent on enrolments. As a growing school division, we will receive increased funding to accommodate that growth, so we are planning with that in mind. In addition to our originally estimated 700 students (since September 30, 2022), we are planning on welcoming 700 more students, for a total of 1,400 students. Our school division is estimated to receive $4.1 million for that growth.
If enrolment falls short of our estimates, our funding will be reduced proportionally.
If we serve 1,400 more students next year, the following budget expenditures will be allocated:
- 20 teachers
- 25 educational assistants
- 1 caretaker
- 2 student services staff
- 2 transportation routes
- Student furniture and technology
We will continue to work with the ministry to recognize in-year growth.
2023-24 fiscal year increase in class complexity funding
On June 1, Minister Duncan also announced $20 million in funding to address classroom composition and complexity.
This targeted funding will go directly to classroom supports. This is good news! This is the first time in years that we are able to respond to needs in increasingly complex and diverse learning environments.
This funding is conditional and must be used to only hire new resources such as teachers, educational assistants, speech language pathologists, counsellors, educational psychologists or other supports as required.
The following budget expenditures will be allocated based on this conditional funding:
- Wrap Around Literacy: Expanded from four schools to nine schools
- Educational psychologists
- Educational Assistant Literacy and Behaviour Plan: 10 positions
- Student technology
- School counsellors
- Behaviour supports
- Student services staff
This funding is not eligible to be used to cover the previously projected operating funding shortfall. Therefore, previously announced program cuts and fee increases will be implemented in 2023-24:
- full-day every-day kindergarten will be only offered at two schools, compared to 10 schools in 2022-23
- no longer staffing an attendance care team
- no longer offering the EcoJustice program
- no longer offering Extended Learning Opportunities
- no longer offering leveled literacy intervention at four schools
- reducing the number of rural transportation routes
- reducing teacher librarian allocations from 10% to 0%
- increase the elementary school noon lunch supervision fee for Saskatoon students who stay at school over the lunch period from $7 per student per month (capped at $14 per family per month) to $10 per student per month (capped at $20 per family per month)
- details will be provided in the fall
- introduce a high school lunch supervision fee of $25 per student per year
- details will provided in the fall
- increase in facility rental fees
Thank you for your diligence in reading this long message and especially for your continued support of Catholic education.
We will continue to work with the Ministry of Education to provide adequate, sustainable and predictable funding for the kindergarten – Grade 12 sector in the province.
Additional detail on the 2023-24 budget will be posted on our website at https://go.gscs.ca/budget
Diane Boyko, Board of Education Chair, and
François Rivard, Director of Education