(Phil McLachlan - Western News - File)

COVID-19: SD67 approves budget reductions

Staff positions will be cut to balance budget

A decline in regular student enrolment is still projected for the 2020/21 school year in School District 67.

On Monday, May 25 during their regular board meeting, the district approved recommended budget reductions in order to help balance the reduction in funding that follows this.

All employee groups, the district explained, are participating in budget reductions, not just the teachers.

In the end, the district anticipates seeing a reduction of 15 full-time equivalent (fte) teachers, one fte principal, 2.56 CEAs or education assistants, and several professional staff.

The district is confident positions will be able to be removed or dealt with through attrition, or personal leave.

As a result of the reduced funding due to a decline in enrolement, the district will also be making cuts to the gifted program, which means the students previously in this program will now find their way into regular classrooms.

“I’m upset that we’ve had to cut the wellness program as much as we have,” said Trustee Shelley Clarke.

Trustee Tracy Van Raes stressed that the gifted program not being cut, but being revised, and she said it’s a good thing. Her son’s biggest hesitation in participating in the program, she said, is leaving his peers. Although she was at first hesitant about it being revised, she said she is now 100 per cent behind it, because she knows staff can deliver the “amazing program” within the regular classroom.

Trustee Barb Sheppard commended staff for their budget report.

“Kudos to everybody for taking a leadership role, it’s never easy to find $2.5 million.” she said.

The reductions were adjusted in response to 160 survey results. The board voted unanimously to the proposed budget reductions.

The district’s assets, explained financial consultant Eileen Sadlowski, are deteriorating faster than the district is adding funding back to the assets. She said this could create a problem for the province, who may realize that SD67’s buildings are deteriorating faster than they can replace them.

The district’s annual budget bylaw for 2020-21 in total amount of $71,706,544 received its first two readings unanimously.

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