Peel - At its meeting on June 19, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board approved its 2012-13 budget. The $930.6 million budget focuses on student achievement and putting resources into schools during a time of constraint and funding cuts. The board has previously approved the investment of funds, on a one-time basis, for the classroom such as:
· Science textbooks – $1.5 million
· Math and Literacy textbooks - $1.4 million
· Arts and music resources - $2.0 million
· Religion textbooks – $1.0 million
· Textbooks for various subjects - $2.0 million
· Library resources – $1.2 million
· Transitional funding for schools to address the loss of revenue due to new healthy foods legislation, fundraising and fees guidelines.
· Other use facility upgrades
In developing the budget for 2012-2013, the priorities of quality Catholic education, student achievement, accountability and transparency have been paramount in all discussions. All decisions align with the board’s strategic plan and system direction. The budget is also aligned with the Ministry of Education’s objectives of improving student achievement, closing the gap in student achievement, and ensuring public confidence in school boards. The budget is a blueprint for the Board to provide quality Catholic instruction and educational programs to enable excellence in student achievement.
Many of the reductions to the GSNs (Grants for Student Needs) will have an impact on the classroom as a substantial amount of the budget relates to schools. The board’s focus is to minimize the impact these reductions have on students, avoid job loss and present a balanced budget as required by legislation.
To meet the demands of this year’s budget, expenditure reductions had to be made, including:
· Reductions to central budget and school budgets related to sick leave (excluding PDT discussions)
· Reductions in program/enhancement
· Reductions in school operations and maintenance
· Reductions in establishment and growth funds
“Currently, we await PDT discussions and the impact those talks will have on school boards,” said John Kostoff, Director of Education. “This year is unprecedented, in the sense that we have passed a budget, while we have yet to know what the provincial terms of settlement are. Nevertheless, we are required to provide a budget to the province by June 29 and we expect to meet this deadline.”
John Kostoff added, “Dufferin-Peel continues to work towards building and maintaining strong Catholic faith-filled communities for our students and staff. Student achievement and well being, transparency, good stewardship of our limited resources, and respect for the dignity of work are all part of this process.”
The board recognizes, also, that there will never be enough funding to do all the things it would like to do for our students.
“The success of balancing this year’s budget belongs to many people,” noted John Kostoff. “ At the end of the day, however, any success we have is the result of parents, students and ratepayers continuing to value and select our Catholic schools as places that they want their children and grandchildren to attend. Our task is to ensure that their choice is always a favourable choice and one that pays dividends for our supporters.”
The development of the 2012-13 budget was guided by a collaborative process that was participatory, transparent and inclusive. All stakeholders, including trustees, staff, the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), and the community, through the public budget consultation session, were involved in the process. These sessions provided opportunities to obtain feedback from the system and the community to ensure the 2012-13 budget reflects both system priorities and sound fiscal management.
“Trustees will continue to lobby for changes in the funding formula to represent the interests of our students, ratepayers and supporters,” said board chair, Mario Pascucci. “While the year ahead will not be an easy one, we are confident that the plan established in the budget will provide solid direction for us over the next school year.”
The board budget report is available online at www.dpcdsb.org