Advertisement

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools approves 2021-22 budget, says more funding needed

The Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools board says current government funding for education is not keeping up with inflation. File / Global News

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools is not cutting any teaching jobs.

However, the GSCS board says current government funding for education is not keeping up with inflation.

The board passed a balanced 2021-22 budget on Monday, but questioned the long-term stability of funding.

Read more: Princess Alexandra chosen as location for new Saskatoon school

“Funding for pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 education in Saskatchewan is increasing, but provincial grants are not keeping pace with inflationary increases we’re seeing on the expense side,” said board chair Diane Boyko.

“It becomes difficult for school divisions to maintain — never mind increase — levels of service to students and families when only some increases are recognized and others are not.”

Story continues below advertisement

Negotiated teacher salary increases are covered, but negotiated increases in other job categories are not, Boyko said.

The board is increasing staffing to accommodate a projected increase of 955 students for the upcoming school year, including 15 teaching positions, 17 educational assistant positions and six new full-time equivalent (FTE) student services positions.

“This year’s budgeting process has once again brought to the surface many of the tensions in our service: there is consistently more that could be done to serve our students and families than resources to accomplish them,” Greg Chatlain, the director of education and CEO of GSCS, said in the budget report.

“Increased costs associated with negotiated contractual increases along with inflationary costs, need to be addressed.”

Read more: Prairie Valley School Division approves balanced budget, 36 staff reductions

A top priority for the board for capital costs is the construction of the new St. Frances Cree Bilingual School.

Demolition of the former Sion Middle School on 7th Street East will start this summer and the board has allocated $5.8 million for detailed design and the start of construction of the new school.

The board trustees unanimously passed a balanced budget of $208.67 million on Monday.

Story continues below advertisement

It includes $190.36 million operating grant from the Saskatchewan government, an increase of 1.36 per cent.

“A funding increase of less than two per cent over five years barely begins to cover inflationary increases in Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools’ budget,” Boyko said in the report.

“We will continue to advocate for the provincial government to close the gap between funding received, and funding (expected).”

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan auditor says improvements needed in early learning education' Saskatchewan auditor says improvements needed in early learning education
Saskatchewan auditor says improvements needed in early learning education – Jun 8, 2021

Sponsored content