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Upper Grand District School Board approves budget

The Upper Grand District School Board has passed the 2021-2022 school year budget.  Trustees approved an Operating Budget of $426,387,256. The 2021-22 Capital Budget was approved at $48,225,205.

The Board also approved the use of $4,094,821 from accumulated surplus to balance the Operating Budget. Enrolment projections for 2021-2022 indicates a slight decrease in the Elementary Panel and growth in the Secondary Panel.

According to the media release Ontario’s Ministry of Education provided information in May related to Grants for Student Needs (GSN) and Priorities and Partnership Funding (PPF), which are the primary funding sources for school boards in Ontario. Through Priorities and Partnership Funding, the province will provide additional COVID-19 related funding to support additional staffing in schools, transportation supports, special education and mental health supports, and school operation supports. The supports include funds for re-engaging students and reading  assessment supports.

The board said that in addition to the PPF amounts, the Ministry has added to the GSN technology and mental health funding that was originally introduced in 2020-21. As per Ministry direction, school boards are expected to budget using the first half of the COVID-19 Supports funding allocated. The Ministry will confirm the use of the remaining resources, if needed for the second half of the year, in the fall, pending vaccine distribution and public health advice.

The release added that the Ministry will impose cash flow constraints on boards that do not comply with Full Day Kindergarten and Primary Class Size requirements. The Ministry requires that
boards submit a balanced budget or a budget where the deficit does not exceed the lesser of accumulated surplus or one per cent of operating allocations. School boards will find out by the fall of 2021 whether there will be an allowance to have a deficit up to 2% due to COVID-19 related expenditures. The Ministry also provides limitations on how expenditures are allocated.

The Upper Grand District School Board says the total 2021-22 UGDSB budget includes $409,539,444 in GSN revenue and $12,752,992 in Other Revenue sources. The GSN amount includes adjustments for enrolment and benchmark changes, additional technology and mental health funding. The GSN amount also includes funding for Specialist High Skills Major programming
and After-School Skills Development (ASSD) programs that was previously funded from PPF. The board allocations of the PPF reflects an increase of $1.4 million. This increase is primarily driven by additional COVID-19 supports, partially offset by the transfer of amounts into the GSN.

Elementary staffing is expected to increase by 6.2 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) elementary teachers and secondary staffing will go up by 8.5 secondary teachers.  Both increases are primarily due to funding related to COVID and Learning Re-engagement supports.

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