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News Item

Chinook Board Approves Budget for the 2024-2025 School Year

June 25, 2024

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The 2024-2025 provincial budget was announced in March, with a funding increase of $180 million (8.8%) to be invested in the 27 Saskatchewan school divisions, including $100 million in new funding that was not previously provided. Chinook received a 4.8% increase, which was a $4.04 million increase in funding. Within the increase, $1.43 million was allocated through the provincial funding model for operational funding and $321,246 to support classroom complexity in Chinook School Division. 

The provincial budget acknowledged enrolment growth, inflationary costs, non-teacher salaries and rising costs of fuel. The majority of the additional funding, $2.28 million, was provided for the anticipated teacher salary increase once the provincial collective bargaining agreement is ratified. 

The operational funding increase is expected to reduce Chinook’s 2024-25 projected deficit from $3.5-4 million to approximately $2-2.6 million. “The Board appreciates the increase in funding and the government’s commitment to cover the costs of any new teachers’ collective agreement is encouraging. We also hope the promise of multi-year funding will allow us to catch up and operate without the need for reductions,” Chinook Board Chair, Kim Pridmore, stated, “After making reductions and utilizing a good portion of our reserves, we have advocated for continued significant funding increases that will ensure stability. This would allow us to build supports back that have been eroded, and also keep up with inflationary costs and increasing needs for student supports.”

Director of Education, Mark Benesh stated, “We are grateful for the increase in funding and it is promising to see the ministry closing the gap in transportation funding. We anticipate the additional funds will decrease our annual $2 million transportation deficit to $1.2 million next year.” 

The Board is committed to investing in classrooms and will use the new classroom complexity funding, along with reserves, to cover a significant increase in teaching staff due to enrollment growth and additional educational assistants in response to a rise in significant learning needs in Chinook classrooms. “Both investments will have a very positive impact in our schools. We want to thank Minister of Education, Jeremy Cockrill and our local MLAs, Everett Hindley, Doug Steele, David Marit and Blaine McLeod, for all their work in advocating within government to prioritize education funding. We hope this can continue into the future as well,” added Benesh.

The provincial government has also allocated $1 million to initiate the planning phase for a major mechanical renovation at Swift Current Comprehensive High School. This project is an update to the architectural, electrical and mechanical systems and components, including upgrades to the ventilation and sprinkler systems. Preventative Maintenance and Renewal (PMR) Funding has also allowed the school to upgrade the boilers, main electrical system and the chiller project to be completed this summer.

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