Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Board tightens belt, approves budget

The Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Board tightens belt as officials say operating funds from the province is not keeping pace with increased enrolment, inflation. File / Getty Images

The Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Board is tightening its belt in the wake of the 2016 provincial budget.

The board approved its budget Monday evening, but according to officials, operating funding from the province is not at a level that will allow it to maintain the current per-student funding.

“With less-than-expected funding to account for enrolment growth, inflation and to cover teacher salary increases, we’re stretching every dollar to limit the effects on classroom learning,” said board chair Diane Boyko.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan school boards say provincial budget ‘not good’ for divisions

Cost savings include not filling some vacant non teaching jobs, and moving office staff into the classroom.

Some classroom programming will also suffer, like English as an additional language.

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The division is adding 13.5 teaching positions to handle growth of more than 300 more students per year.

“We worked very hard to be able to maintain our teacher-to-student ratio and hire more teachers. But to say some of these cost-cutting measures won’t affect the classroom isn’t totally accurate,” Boyko stated.

READ MORE: 74 classroom staff losing their jobs in the Prairie Spirit School Division

The province did increase preventative maintenance and renewal spending to the board, which is separate from operating funds.

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