Budget Consultations

2022-2023 Budget Consultation Process

York Region District School Board invites families and community members to participate in the annual budget consultation process. 

Public feedback provides the Board with important information about how the community would like to see YRDSB’s budget allocated to better support student achievement and well-being. The results of the consultation will be used to inform the 2022-23 school year budget allocation.

Community members are welcome to attend a virtual public budget consultation as well as fill out an online budget survey. 


Budget Information

View the Budget Information Presentation to learn more.


Public Budget Survey

The 2022-2023 Public Budget Survey is now closed. 


Public Budget Consultation Dates

The virtual public budget consultation registrations for 2022-2023 are now closed. 

Sessions were recorded and available for replay:

YRDSB values community input and is working to increase transparency and understanding of the budget process. 

Questions regarding the budget process may be directed to budget2223@yrdsb.ca


Additional Resources


 

Questions and Answers

Staff is working through Ministry calculations to determine the 2022-2023 draft budget. We estimated a deficit of $38-41M back in January, and this will be updated based on the new funding announcement soon. The Board will endeavour to seek savings and efficiencies and plans to utilize accumulated reserves to balance the budget.

The Board can use savings from school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, savings have gone into the Board’s accumulated surplus or reserves. Accessing these funds counts towards the allowable 1% use of reserves. The Board is limited to the use of reserves without Ministry of Education approval.  

 

 

Should a higher enrollment scenario materialize, additional teachers would be hired to meet class size requirements.  Depending on the degree of increased enrollment, staff would consult with Trustees on reducing the draw on reserves and revisit areas of reduction. 

 

There is a decline in enrollment Province-wide; however, some boards are experiencing growth.  Pre-pandemic, YRDSB was a growth board.  The primary driver for growth in York Region is immigration, which has decreased substantially during the pandemic. Other drivers include increased cost of living, remote learning and remote work, which has resulted in families looking for residencies outside the Greater Toronto Area.

 

The Board takes an outward to inward approach when planning the budget, i.e. looking for savings furthest removed from direct programs and services to students. The first step is to start looking at central departments. 

In 2019-20, substantial central staff reductions resulted from maintaining our level of educational assistant services within the system. Last year, any unfilled central positions which were vacant for 12 months were removed from the budget.  In planning for the 2022-23 budget, department reduction targets are set at 10% and 15%. Any potential savings are reviewed as part of the budget process.

 

School Boards are regulated under the Education Act. Boards are allowed to charge fees for certain things such as permitting, transcripts, leases and international student fees. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on both international students and permits. 

 

(Question continued...) Also, the funding for designing differentiated curriculums. Will YRDSB continue to support social skills and executive functioning skills?

 

To be a Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) within YRDSB, the Board looks for applicants who hold qualifications in special education. The Board provides support through professional learning, both formally and informally. 

YRDSB has a partnership with Dr. Laurie Faith, who specializes in executive functioning skills. The partnership with Dr. Faith includes the development of a pilot program that is now embedded in a number of schools, whereby professional development occurs through a series of modules and learning sessions. The source of work with Dr. Faith is to empower students to self-advocate and encourages students to recognize their strengths and openly discuss their  goals. The Board is looking to expand these programs. The Board’s dedication to this professional learning continues despite budget limitations.

The Ministry of Education has developed additional qualification courses specific to supporting students with autism. The Board actively partners with the Geneva Center for Autism in developing this course and provides a significant subsidy for educators. 

We have many staff in teaching the Empower reading intervention program with plans to trained many more beginning this spring. 

The Board's Interdisciplinary Team, which includes highly experienced SERTs with their Special Education Specialist Specialist, is also a resource for educator teams to provide professional learning and observations to ensure our programs are robust.  

 

(Question continued...)For years I have been hearing that the wait list is long and as a result many parents have to seek these types of assessments for accomodations at the school in the marketplace. The problem is that if you do not have private insurance it is expensive and for many unaffordable. Also parents need guidance on the quality of the assessment and are these assessments even regulated? Do these mental health professionals operate with a Hippocratic Oath or something similar?

 

Mental health support needs increased throughout the pandemic. Supporting and nurturing positive mental health and well-being is within the Board's Multi-Year Strategic Plan and the operational plans within our system. 

The Board has a team of psychologists, social workers, speech and language pathologists and Occupational and Physical therapists that directly support students in schools. Each Regulated Health Professional is a member of a professional college and adheres to all aspects of the Regulated Health Professions Act.  Each of these professionals has a caseload of students and families that they support directly. A three-tier approach is taken, with the first tier supporting all students through curriculum, e.g. ABC's of mental health series.   The second tier includes students who require more than the universal level of support. The Board's mental health professionals can connect families with outside partners. YRDSB has been working diligently to expand relationships with community partners. Tier 3 includes intensive support, for example, one-on-one counseling or therapy that the Board's mental health professionals provide or arrange. The Board also has a Mental Health Leader who guides the development of the support across the tiers and works with the professional groups and community partners. 

Due to the increase in referrals to mental health professionals, $2M of surplus funds was dedicated to increasing mental health providers' availability this year. 

If a parent is wondering about their child's progress, it is advisable to speak with the school principal. The Principal can initiate a special meeting, called an in school team meeting, where our professional staff can be in attendance to hear general information about your child and give guidance to the instructional team on how to meet your child’s needs and program ideas.  If a psychoeducational assessment is recommended, informed parent consent will be sought. 

The Board is continuously working towards assessing all students who have been identified. Waitlists are reported to the Ministry. The Ministry provides funding to respond to waitlists that are reported from Boards. 

 

Please refer to the response above

Yes, the PEERS program is highly beneficial and we have had great success running this program for many years.  We have been offering it to High School students grades 9-12 and for  the first time this year we are offering it to grade 7 and 8 students in order to support the development of social skills required to transition to secondary school. 

 

(Question continued...) Will there be any one on one conversation between the students and teacher so as the teacher understands the newly immigrated students?

The Board has specialized teachers who are English as a second language teachers. ESL teachers, directly and indirectly, support students. English language learners are assessed using the STEP program to monitor progress through time. The Board strives for relationships with community partners. The COSTI organization coordinates the immigration and settlement of newcomers to Canada. Inclusive Schools and Community Services has specialized staff who can speak to families in their first language. ISCS staff can connect families to community resources. Our Reception Centre is the first welcome to YRDSB; families are met with first-language speakers to help navigate the Board and are directed to community resources. 

Yes, findings from the 2021 surveys suggest that the pandemic context has negatively impacted student well-being and mental health. An analysis of student perceptions across surveys (2017, 2018 and 2018) indicates that since 2017, there has been a substantial increase in the percentage of students who report feelings related to negative well-being and mental health (e.g., anxious, socially isolated) and a substantial decrease in the percentage of students who report feelings related to positive well-being and mental health (e.g., happy, positive about the future).  We will continue to monitor the short and long-term impacts on student academic outcomes.  An analysis of the 2021 school year shows that we continue to underserve some students (e.g., students with Special Education Needs) and we must further improve supports and opportunities to ensure their equitable outcomes. 

It is important to note that when reviewing all students collectively that we minimize the impacts on some students as not all students have the same access to supports that may have mitigated the impacts of the pandemic.  Generally, short-term impacts are not clearly evident across all grades.  For example, in Elementary Grades 1-3, we see an increase in the proportion of students achieving at or above the provincial standard (Level 3 and 4) in reading and writing for the 2020-21 school year, but a slight decrease in Mathematics.  

The outcomes of students in Grades 7 and 8 show minor fluctuation over the three years with the rate of students achieving at and above the provincial standard peaking (Reading 84%, Writing 84%, Mathematics 83%) in 2019-20 before declining slightly in the 2020-21 school year (Reading 83%, Writing 83%, Mathematics 81%). These trends may be associated with the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., differential impacts of virtual learning on instruction, student motivation, and access to resources like technology). Changes in evaluation practices due to Board initiatives and directives may have caused fluctuations as well. 

In Secondary, we examined a number of factors, including pass rates in courses and credit accumulation. For example, in Grade 9 Academic English, we noticed a one percentage point decline in the 2020-2021 school year (98%) as compared to the previous two years (99%).  In Grade 9 Applied English, we examined the pass rates and noticed a fluctuation over the years and a 3 percent decline in the 2020-2021 school year (94%) as compared to the 2019-2020 school year (97%), but this was 2 percent higher than the 2018-2019 school year (92%). Students with Special Education Needs in Academic had pass rates 1 -2 % lower each year, while students in Applied had rates that ranged from 0 – 2 percent higher..     

In Grade 9 Academic Mathematics, we examined the pass rates and noticed a 3 percentage points increase over the 3 school years (2018-19 - 2020-2021) from 95% to 98%.  In Grade 9 Applied Mathematics, pass rates fluctuated over the years and a 3 percentage points decline in the 2020-2021 school year (92%) as compared to the 2019-2020 school year (95%), but this was still 3 percentage points higher than the 2018-2019 school year (89%).  Students with Special Education Needs in Academic courses had pass rates 2-4 % lower each year, while students in Applied courses had pass rates that ranged from 1 to 2% percent higher.  Overall students in Applied classes were not experiencing the same level of outcomes as students in Academic courses.            

We also examined credit accumulation rates from Grades 9 -12 and they remained relatively consistent over the past three years (2018 - 2021) with no more than one percentage point variation from each year to the next. Overall, the number of students in Grade 12 achieving 30 plus credits had increased over the past two years. 

More specific information about trends can be found in our Board’s 2020-2021 Director’s Action Plan: Annual Monitoring and Reporting (pg277). 

 

There were savings in each of the years of the pandemic mostly due to complete system closure. There were operational savings from things like our utility costs, because we did not use as much water, electricity, etcetera, because our schools were not operating. Other smaller operational savings came from our corporate staff working remotely during the pandemic. The Board had savings from things like meeting expenses, photocopying, etc. Some of those savings we would like to see continue into post pandemic operations. All areas of the board's operations are being reviewed in order to balance the budget

School boards do not operate in the same way as private sector organizations and do not have the same  salary flexibility. Unlike private sector organizations, school boards are very heavily regulated and in terms of staffing, most of our staff  are unionized. Our salaries for our unionized groups are determined provincially through collective bargaining, and are protected through collective agreements. Sometimes the number of staff that we are required to have as a board is either prescribed in legislation or in our collective agreements. And as a good employer, we are required to abide by those agreed upon salaries and salary increases

 

Regional teachers and consultants continue to facilitate learning opportunities for staff as part of their ongoing work.  Traditionally, a portion of the budget is allocated for supply teacher coverage for these sessions, however, during this past year, due to York Region Public Health guidelines, these have shifted online, mainly after school.  Some learning sessions have taken place this past year during the day when we were able to provide supply teacher coverage.

In addition to facilitating learning sessions, regional teachers and consultants support Family of Schools and Area learning,  individual schools, departments, and staff through:

  • Supporting implementation of system-wide strategies including the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy and Indigenous Education and Equity Strategy at the area (North, East, West, Central), Family of Schools and school level
  • Coaching  and mentoring staff, including new Long Term Occasional and Permanent  teachers
  • Supporting the implementation of de-streaming initiatives at both the elementary and secondary levels
  • Collaborating with school Leadership Teams to support learning at the school level
  • Working with department, division, grade teams or individual teachers to support 

instruction and assessment practices 

  • Developing a variety of learning resources to support educators (e.g., Discover Kindergarten) 
  • Coordination of student centred activities (dual credits, SHSM, Skills competitions) 
  • Reviewing and purchasing resources (e.g., online tools, texts for students, professional resources for staff, etc.)

 

Looking ahead to the 2022-2023 school year, regional teachers and Consultants will continue to support the system and we anticipate being able to provide professional learning during the school day.

 

Student Success 

  • Student Success team supports transitions from Grade 8 to Grade 9
  • Transition resources provided for Families of Schools
    • 2 release days per school to use for transition activities
    • $500 per Family of Schools for transition activities
  • Transition Activities
    • Transportation from elementary to secondary
    • Food costs
  • Budgeted Cost: $140,000

Elementary Transition Teachers

  • Estimated FTE of 40.9 staffing allotment for Elementary Transition Teachers (ETTs)
  • Schools will receive a portion of the allotment based on their Grade 7 and 8 enrollment
  • ETTs support students with pathway planning

Summer Learning

  • Summer Learning Program for Grade 7 and 8 students, co-taught by elementary and secondary teachers
  • Budgeted Cost: $155,000 

Elementary Professional Learning 

  • De-Streaming Coordination team is developing a series of videos to support professional learning for elementary educators at staff meetings, with a focus on dismantling streaming ideologies, and which support students in the transition from elementary to secondary school - No specific cost attached to this
  • Mathematics Network learning is planned (although tentative pending decisions about instructional day learning), with a focus on effective, culturally relevant pedagogy that sets students up for success in de-streamed secondary programs - Funded through the Focus on the Fundamentals of Mathematics TPA  

(Question continued...) Many of the YRDSB Staff, like students, are struggling... Struggling with feeling connected, feeling supported, feeling heard,  feeling healthy, etc. Attendance is down; morale is down;  hope and optimism is down. How will YRDSB LEADERSHIP be turning this around and leading in this area with regards to investments and reaching those working directly with students?

The Board continues to make mental health investments in support of staff. First, the Board continues to engage in discussion with current providers (e.g. ComPsych) to provide responsive and targeted services to meet the needs of staff (e.g. social identity specific support). ComPsych’s contract is coming up for renewal shortly, at which point the Board will have an opportunity to consider alternative vendors as well. A recent budget proposal tabled would include the introduction of internal mental health resources for staff to support in bridging internal needs and external services. A new Right to Disconnect policy will reaffirm Board values and aim to reset the boundaries between personal and working life. As the pandemic wanes, a return to more traditional learning models and gradual removal of PPE will create a greater sense of normalcy. Investments and workshops can be made available to support this transition and healing period. 

 

We provide support for schools through our inclusive school and community services department. The Department consists of equity teacher facilitators, some teacher liaisons, community and partnership developers, a reception center, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Team.

Equity: condition or state of fair, inclusive and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences.  For example if we know that identifiable groups of students are underserved and as a result underperforming, it is our moral and legal responsibility to develop and implement programming that will close any achievement or opportunity gaps.   Equality simply means treating everyone the same.