TRURO – A reduction in provincial funding for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board (CCRSB) will impact student supports and services, said the board’s superintendent of schools.
Gary Clarke said the local board is sitting down at the budget-planning table with $182,100 less funding than last year.
“I think what is significant that hasn’t come out as clearly as it should have, is that boards are going to be responsible for a significant amount of cost pressures that we’ll be experiencing over this year,” said Clarke, “and so not only is it the $182,000 that we are down, it going to be the monies associated with the significant cost pressures that we anticipate coming.”
The CCRSB budget of about $177 .4 million, will see a reduction of 0.10 per cent.
Clarke said increases in the cost of electricity, fuel and oil, coupled with inflationary costs and fluctuating average teaching salaries will all impact the board’s bottom line.
“At first blush it seems like ‘oh great’ there is going to be an increase but as you are now aware that doesn’t apply to all boards in all situations,” said the superintendent.
“The overall education budget is $3 million more than it was last year but when you distribute it across all eight boards, some boards get increases, some boards get decreases and that is not a new phenomenon.”
The local board, along with Cape Breton-Victoria, South Shore, Strait and Tri-County will all experience funding cuts, some as deep as $2 million, while Halifax, Annapolis and Conseil will see increases as high as 6.05 per cent, with the Halifax board receiving the lion’s share of funds totaling more than $5 million.
“In the last two years we’ve reduced a lot of services and supports for our students,” said Clarke. “Albeit this year might not be as bad, but it will still be a significant reduction in services and supports.”
Last year the board reduced 130 full-time equivalent positions, including librarians, adult high schools, etc.
“It’s been difficult the last two years for sure.”
The board is just beginning its budget planning process for 2013/2014.
Clarke said during the next couple of weeks the board’s financial director would receive provincial funding details along with the final calculations of cost pressures.
“Our board goes through a very detailed process of reviewing its priorities, reviewing the reductions over the last couple of years, finding out how they are going to cope with the reductions and at the same time making sure they do the best for the students in our system,” said Clarke.
The budget process is expected to take about two months to complete.