Trustees approved part 1 of the 2014-2015 Budget known as the Distribution of Funds. The Distribution of Funds allocates the total budget between schools and the business units of the District. The amount of funds provided by the Provincial Government for 2014-2015 covers enrolment growth, but per pupil funding and staff unit costs are virtually unchanged from the previous year. While the new funds are limited, keep in mind the 2013-2014 Budget was a $30 million reduction from 2012-2013. Issues of large class sizes, limited resources for inclusive settings for special needs and for a growing English language learner population, and continued investment in equipment, facilities, and staff remain. Part 2 of the Budget in the coming weeks will allocate the funds among schools based on per pupil allotments based on a number of defined classifications.
Trustees also approved the 10 year and 3 year capital plans. The 10 year plan provides a forecast of school space required, and the 3 year plan requests of the Provincial Government new schools and modernizations for the next 3 years. The Board continues to advocate as enrolment projections suggest the need for 15-20 new schools by 2019. I am pleased that a new K-9 school for Glastonbury or Granville is the District’s #2 priority request. The #1 priority is for a new school for Windermere, which has no school options within many kilometers. The Superintendent confirmed in his response to my question that EPSB is proactive in seeking partners for shared facilities (for example, partnering with the City to add a public library to a school) as one means to enhance the likelihood of obtaining funding.