SD68 ‘needs based budget’ tallies up $4.8 m. shortfall

Says ability to meet student needs eroded by cuts

More please!

Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District’s business committee has received from staff a ‘needs based’ budget to present to Education Minister Mike Bernier.

The document, which was discussed at the Board of Education’s Business Committee meeting June 8, says the district is being shortchanged by $4.8 million with its 2016-17 MOE funding allocation.

Using 2002-03 as its baseline year, the recommendation suggests Bernier be informed by the Board that SD68 is concerned about the district’s “ability to improve educational outcomes while receiving provincial funding which has not kept up with the costs downloaded to districts.”

The recommended ‘restorative’ budget would increase:

• The number of teacher FTEs (Full Time Equivalents) from 730 to 741 at a cost of $1.15 million;

• Principal and vice principals from 54 to 57 at a cost of $352,170;

• Education assistants from 267 to 283 at a cost of $758,858;

• Support staff from 215 to 231 at a cost of $285,237.

The biggest item on the list, however, was for services and supplies, which has been eroded to the tune of $1.23 million according to the school district’s calculations.

Notes to the calculations say that slightly more than 11 teachers would have to be hired to achieve a Student Educator Ratio (SER) in Nanaimo-Ladysmith comparable to what existed Sept. 30 2001.

In 2015-16 the district put a hiring freeze on elementary vice-principalships in schools with more than 325 students but less than 350. The adjusted figures would allow the district to put VPs back in schools with fewer than 350 students.

The restorative budget would place six more custodians in schools; nine more maintenance personnel in the district; and one additional clerical position.

A 10 per cent increase in service and supplies is needed, the document states, because of budget reductions and a “funding allocations not keeping up with inflation.”