In keeping with our commitment to share as much information as we can, we would like to provide you with an update on the Board budget, including class sizes, staffing and course offerings.
Approving the Board’s $1.5 billion budget is one of the most important responsibilities trustees have, balancing providing a high-quality public education system with the need for financial sustainability and responsibility.
This year’s budgeting process has been made more difficult due to reductions in provincial funding. We recognize that these reductions will have implications for students and families, and we have been working with staff members to minimize the effects on our students.
Even though the Board is projecting modest enrolment growth, because of provincial funding reductions, we will experience the loss of over 90 teaching positions in our system through attrition. While we will experience the loss of teaching positions, we are not anticipating any secondary school teacher layoffs this year. However, our secondary schools are having to make difficult decisions about course offerings.
As a result of these provincial funding reductions, 159 courses have been cancelled or are being reduced across our 33 secondary schools. A full list of cancelled or reduced courses by school is available publicly. This list includes only those courses that have been affected directly by the provincial change in class sizes in Grades 9-12.
We recognize that these cancellations and reductions will be disappointing for students and families. We want to assure you that our schools have been doing their best to limit these numbers. In some cases, this may mean combining courses or increasing class sizes where possible within our existing collective agreements. Schools are currently working with students to find alternative options to ensure they can continue in their chosen pathways.
At the Board level, we continue to review the budget to minimize the effects of provincial funding reductions on classrooms and students. This includes reviewing centrally assigned positions, administrative positions on terms, timing of purchases and other cost saving measures.
In May, the Board of Trustees sent a letter to Minister of Education outlining our concerns about these proposed changes. We keep our students at the centre of all of our decision making and will continue to make decisions in their best interests.
We remain concerned about the effect these changes will have on the options available to our students, and of the reduction of caring and supportive adults in our schools.
If you have any concerns about your child’s courses, we encourage you to speak with your school principal or guidance counsellor. We will continue to share information with you as it becomes available.
Louise Sirisko Corrie McBain
Director of Education Board Chair