Saskatoon public schools budget includes job cuts and supervisory fees

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The Saskatoon School Board has approved the operating budget for the next school year, which includes addressing a $4.5 million shortfall by reducing staff. Board Chair Colleen MacPherson explains provincial funding increased by 2.1%, which covers negotiated salary increase for teachers but does not cover increases for other staff and rising costs benefits, transportation and inflation.

The budget includes a reduction of 12.7 full-time equivalent positions for elementary teachers and 6.9 full-time equivalent positions for secondary schools. All cuts are full-time equivalents. The budget includes one fewer elementary English as an additional language teacher, one fewer elementary resource teacher and two more discretionary teaching positions. Three community school coordinators will need to be cut a school psychologist, a coordinator, a consultant and a speech therapist 0.5 full-time equivalent.

This also means a 5% reduction in school budget lines and a 10% reduction in Central Office budget lines. All affected staff will either be redeployed or complete their contract. MacPherson says, “It’s impossible to balance this budget without affecting the classroom experience of our students. Education is an important investment in the future of this province, but without proper funding that takes inflation into account, we cannot do our job properly.

To help balance the budget, Saskatoon Public Schools will introduce a fee for lunchtime supervision in elementary schools. The family will have to pay $100 annually per child if they stay for lunch, up to a maximum of $200 per family. This offsets supervision expenses of approximately $500,000.

Additions to the budget include a 0.5 FTE secretary for every elementary school with more than 600 enrollments, a new intermediate life skills program, $1.3 million to replace critical Wi-Fi infrastructure, 100 $.00 for furniture replacement and $1 million in targeted provincial grants. funding that will be used to hire 21 FTE teacher assistants.

Expenditures for the next school year are set at $297 million and increase by $9.3 million.

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