Nov. 14, 2019
Today administration presented the Board of Trustees with an updated fall Budget Assumptions Report (BAR). Every year a BAR is prepared in advance of the budget to indicate the plan to present a balanced budget.
This spring the Board of Trustees received a BAR and approved a budget based on the assumption that funding from the government would remain the same. On October 24, 2019, the provincial budget was released and the CBE announced a minimum $32 million budget gap. Because the budget comes mid-year, we now must find the equivalent of $48 million in annualized cuts to generate the $32 million in savings over the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
The updated fall BAR outlines the areas in which we plan to find budget reductions of approximately $48 million in annualized savings to balance the budget over the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The following strategies are in addition to the $40 million in reductions made during the spring budget process.
- Cutting the overall funding allocated to 246 schools by $22 million or 2.5 per cent. This will include eliminating some temporary employee contracts and redeploying some central and Area-based staff to schools to help mitigate this impact.
- Cutting overall administration through service unit reductions by 2-10 per cent.
- Reducing planned capital spending by $5 million.
- Increasing transportation fees mid-year for yellow school bus riders while maintaining overall service levels for 2019-2020. This is necessary due to the elimination of $8 million in provincial government funding.
In addition, leaders were asked to freeze spending unless it impacts safety, security or legal compliance.
The revised school budget allocations (known as RAM - Resource Allocation Model) will be sent to all principals on November 14 so that principals can make required changes. We expect that any direct impacts on staff will not occur until January 2020. We will continue to prioritize staff over non-essential goods. Not all cuts will look the same; impacts may be different for some schools and service units due to a variety of factors.
Superintendents, education directors and principals met this afternoon to discuss finance and human resources processes and next steps. Associations and union leaders were also invited.
In keeping with CBE values, we are working to minimize budget impacts to students and their learning. We know that classrooms, schools, families and employees will face changes and we will continue to put students first.
Thank you to staff, students, and the community for your understanding and patience as we work through this difficult process on a condensed timeline.
Chief Superintendent of Schools