On April 10, the 2018-2019 provincial budget was announced in the legislature with a 1.6% increase in operating funds for PreK-12 Education. While the $30M in provincial funding restored by the government is encouraging for the education sector as a whole, Chinook will still face a shortfall as we develop budget for 2018-19. Chinook’s recognized grant of $75.2M is approximately $275,000 less than the previous year. A shortfall was anticipated by the Board and adjustments will need to be made to move towards balanced budget.
“Chinook has lost significant funding in recent years and last Spring's reduction resulted in a deficit for this year. The Board, along with the assistance of administration, made every effort to keep the impact away from the classrooms and instead focused on making reductions in the areas of centralized administration, learning support services, and governance. With the additional decrease in funding for next year, we have no choice but to make more cutbacks in order to balance our budget,” said Board Chair Dr. Shane Andrus. “As elected board members, we are determined that student success, and our local schools, will remain our top priority. We will diligently support our Chinook students, and schools, to ensure students receive the best education possible. We firmly believe this is in keeping with the expectations of Southwest Saskatchewan, as heard through the voices of our school community councils, parents, ratepayers and municipalities. The Board will hold an urgent planning meeting on Monday, April 16.”
Initial analysis indicates that enrolment growth in other areas of the province consumed the majority of the restored funds and Chinook has not experienced any significant enrolment growth. Director of Education, Kyle McIntyre, explained that there will be some adjustments to the staffing in schools, “In order to balance our budget there will need to be adjustments to our staffing levels in schools. Through our recent consultations with the Chinook focus group, our Chinook Board and the Ministry of Education, we determined that we need to make minor modifications to our staffing formula to get closer to our funded staffing levels. As we continue to receive fewer resources, we will need to apply the formula adjustments that our Board has recently approved. This will be achieved gradually by our schools over the next two years through natural attrition, such as retirements and resignations.”
As the Board works to finalize their budget for 2018-19, they will continue to align the Division strategic plan with the Education sector plan. Chinook is committed to their writing, reading and math goals, and will keep focusing on student engagement as the work continues with graduation rates and attendance.
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For more information, contact:
Joanne Booth, Communications Coordinator
Chinook School Division
Phone: 306-778-9200 Ext 218