Board approves balanced ‘good news’ budget
For Immediate Release
June 25, 2009
GUELPH, Ontario — The Upper Grand District School Board has approved a balanced 2009-10 school year budget that puts students in the classroom first, even though the board is facing ongoing declining enrolment, increasing costs and a difficult provincial economic situation.
“This is a good news budget,” said board chair, Bob Borden. “Although the province has reduced funding for textbooks, classroom computers, and staff development, we managed to find savings in other areas to ensure that these things are well supported.”
The operating budget totals $290,463,295 and covers salaries and benefits for teachers, educational assistants, textbooks and classroom supplies and other classroom expenditures as categorized by the government. It also funds school secretaries, administration, operations and trustee expenses which are considered non-classroom costs. The accommodation budget of $20,076,475 is designated for capital and building renewal costs.
Operational savings were found by closing the board’s Silvercreek Education Centre location, which housed the Terry James Resource Library and cataloguing function, as well as the IT department, and moving the staff to the renovated Guelph board office facility. Eliminating the lease cost of $300,000 annually for that space, and reducing transportation costs by $40,000 through an RFP process for school bus contracts means the effect of government cuts to textbooks and classroom computers was mitigated.
“Keeping the focus on students and their learning is the most important thing. We were also able to provide additional funds for school budgets which have suffered from cut backs in previous years. We heard the principals loud and clear when they asked us not to cut their budgets again,” Borden noted.
Ministry grants to the board were up 3.4% over the previous year which covers the costs of the salary increases for staff negotiated earlier this year under the provincial framework agreements.
While some concern exists about the fiscal health of the provincial treasury, trustees remain optimistic and have made a conscious effort to ensure the public funding the board receives is being spent wisely on students and their learning needs.
For more information: Maggie McFadzen, Communications Officer, 519-822-4420, ext. 725
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