Upper Grand board inks spending plan for next school year

July 7, 2022   ·   0 Comments


Costs to run schools under the umbrella of the Upper Grand District School Board increased 5.45 per cent over last year.

The school board released details in its 2022-2023 spending blueprint. Board trustees approved an operating budget of $432,285,649 and a capital budget of $52,485,533.

The increase to non-staff costs in school operations was necessary to keep in line with increasing commodity prices such as electricity, natural gas, facility insurance and other expenses.

Ensuring a measure of safety for students and staff against the coronavirus means ventilation systems run longer and require filters be replaced frequently, the board said in a media release.

“The Ontario government is providing additional COVID-19 related funding to support resources to address learning recovery, the implementation of the first year of a fully de-streamed Grade 9, the delivery of remote learning, supports for special education, and enhanced cleaning standards at schools,” according to the release.

The total 2022-23 UGDSB budget includes $422,328,295 in provincial grants for student needs (GSN) and $9,957,354 from other revenue sources.

Next year’s GSN amount is $12.5 million higher than the 2021-2022 budget.

“The GSN amount includes adjustments for enrollment and benchmark changes, additional COVID learning recovery funding and transfers of amounts previously in Priorities and Partnerships Funds (PPF),” the board outlined in its release.

The PPF allocation reflects a decrease of $2.6 million. This decrease is primarily driven by COVID-19 supports transferring to the GSN. Other funding sources were essentially flat year over year, according to the release.

The tally of staff and students at many schools are on the rise for next year, too.

Enrollment projections for 2022-2023 indicates growth among elementary students and a slight increase in the secondary school population.

A 27.5 full time equivalent (FTE) increase in elementary school teachers is caused by an extra 25 FTE to provide learning recovery support. A 13.69 FTE increase in teaching positions at secondary schools is primarily due to an additional 13.33 FTE to provide learning recovery support.

And there’s projected to be additional expenditures in the teacher assistants line, which reflects anticipated extra support required for the upcoming school year.

“Teacher assistants provide a variety of supports to students in the classroom, in particular students with special needs,” said the press release.

In the category of Professionals, Paraprofessionals and Technicians, there is an FTE increase of 9.7 FTE, which is primarily driven by the 6 FTE increase in mental health supports, including social workers, mental health professionals and child and youth counsellors.

The balance of the change includes 2.2 FTE increase in speech and language supports and additional digital support services and information technology of 1.5 FTE.

The process was undertaken with an emphasis on the Board Improvement Plan for Student Needs, equity principles to ensure the well-being and achievement of all students and staff, accountability, high quality teaching, strong leadership in all areas of the organization, and consideration for the impact of climate change as it relates to the future well-being of our students, community and planet.

“The budget process began in January and referred to the UGDSB’s guiding principles for budget. These principles focused on the allocation of human and financial resources on the success and well-being of every child,” the board said.

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