On March 20 the 2013-2014 provincial budget was announced in the legislature, with a 3.1% increase in operating funds in the Education sector in recognition of the significant increase in student enrolments across the province. However, for Chinook School Division there was no overall increase in funding, and after further analysis it actually translates into a loss.
Chinook's share is $360,000 less than what was received in 2012-2013. While there were incremental increases in some areas, they were more than offset by significant losses in other areas. The most significant loss for Chinook was the locally negotiated teacher benefit allocation: $1.15M less than 2012-2013. The portion for Hutterian schools was reduced by approximately $280,000, and in the area of supports for learning (special education) there was a loss of approximately $220,000. In addition, the funding will not cover the non-teacher salary increases that the Division is committed to for next year.
Although the recognized funding summary shows the amounts for next year to be less than this year, Director Liam Choo Foo explained that the loss may not be quite as significant once details are refined, "There are some anomalies that have been discovered during our analysis. So we anticipate that there will be some positive adjustments once they get reconciled through discussion with Ministry officials."
Fewer resources will be available to respond to the inflationary pressures expected on transportation, facilities and committed salary increases for support staff. "We will need to find those resources internally," indicated Randy Beler, Chinook School Division Board Chair, "Chinook is aligning our Strategic Plan with the 'Saskatchewan Plan for Growth' and the Ministry's focus on Achievement. In looking for efficiencies, we will stay committed to the priorities of Math Momentum and Balanced Literacy."
For more information, contact:
Joanne Booth, Communications Coordinator
Chinook School Division
Phone: 306-778-9200 Ext 218