School boards pass balanced budget

Beaver Staff

Both the public and separate school boards passed balanced budgets for the upcoming school year this week.

Trustees with the Limestone District School Board approved the board’s budget for 2017-18 at their regular meeting on Wednesday. The budget totalled $268,970,131 to operate 57 schools and eight education centres in Lennox and Addington and Frontenac Counties, serving about 19,000 students.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to staff and fellow trustees for their work, diligence and thoughtful enquires to ensure our resources are directed in a manner that supports the priorities, values and objectives of this Board,” said Suzanne Ruttan, Budget Committee Chair and Trustee representing South Frontenac in a statement issued by the LDSB last week.

“As a result of the education sector labour negotiations, we welcome the two-year Local Priorities Fund established by the (Ministry of Education),” she added. “These funds will help offset the reductions to the Special Education Grant allocation and allow the board to maintain the current special education structure.”

She also said that the board would continue to lobby the provincial government to increase funding programs and services, particularly as they relate to special education needs.

Among the highlights of the budget include the hiring of two new communicative disorders assistant positions in the area of speech and language; professional learning investments to promote teaching and learning strategies that support students’ learning needs; and improvement ins parent and community engagement through technology investments and upgrades to school websites, notifications and alerts.

More than $17.4 million has been earmarked for school condition improvement, school renewal and greenhouse gas reduction capital investments in LDSB facilities.

A day earlier, the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board passed a balanced $152.9 million operating budget and $9.4 million capital budget for the upcoming school year.

“We are pleased that Trustees have once again been able to pass a balanced budget that will provide the opportunity for our students to achieve personal growth and academic success in a faith-based community,” said ALCDSB Chair John Brisbois.

“The focus in the planning of the 2017-18 budget was to align resources to provide as much stability and balance to the school system and enhance program support to students while maintaining our focus on student achievement and well-being,” said Director of Education Jody DiRocco.

The ALCDSB, based in Napanee, services more than 11,000 students over Frontenac, L&A, Hastings and Prince Edward County.

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