Ongoing education about First Nations, Métis and Inuit traditions and culture remain an integral part of CDSBEO’s strategic priorities. This year, the CDSBEO Indigenous Education Day, held on Wednesday, May 4 during Catholic Education Week, celebrated Strawberry Teachings. Although the Strawberry is celebrated by many Indigenous cultures, the focus highlighted its importance in the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe cultures to acknowledge that the CDSBEO is located on the Mohawk territory of the Haudenosaunee people and the unceded, traditional Algonquin territory of the Anishinaabe people.
Melissa Mader-Tardif, Indigenous Education Lead, and Marian Lawson MacDonald, Indigenous Education Advisor, presented details to the Board of Trustees, on the learning that took place in CDSBEO Classrooms. All lessons had an authentic Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe voice and were developed with a cross curricular lens for students from kindergarten to grade 12. Principals also received a Land Acknowledgment for their daily announcements and a prayer service, through the support of the Religious Education Department.
“To underline this year’s land-based learning, all grade 3 classes in the CDSBEO received strawberry plants in connection to the grade 3 science curriculum of life systems, where students learn about the growth and changes in plants. As a class, students were asked to research about the strawberry plant and learn about the different parts: roots, leaves, stem, and flower,” explained Marian Lawson MacDonald.
Self-identified students were invited to wear traditional clothing on Indigenous Education Day. To do this in a culturally sensitive and respectful way, the CDSBEO Indigenous Education Team spoke to all School Equity Teams to review culturally safe practices for students and staff. A letter was sent to all families of self-identified students to fully inform parents of the rationale, and to allow them to make an informed decision on participation.
The CDSBEO would like to acknowledge and thank all First Nation, Métis, and Inuit community partners who helped with the development of this year’s CDSBEO Indigenous Education Day theme. A special thank you Akwesasne artist, Crystal T. Henry, and Kokum Marlene for providing Strawberry Teachings, artwork, and a traditional song which was shared with the CDSBEO.
The day was an authentic example of including Indigenous understanding and worldview in curriculum through experiential learning.
“Our board is recognized for its outstanding work in Indigenous Education. On behalf of trustees, I would like to thank you both for the strong community partnerships that have been developed, and for the engaging initiatives that take place within our schools,” concluded Chair Lalonde.
Interim Financial Report: September 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022
Superintendent of Business, Ashley Hutchinson, provided the interim financial report covering the period from September 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, with comparative figures for 2021. A summary of the financial results was shared, including a description of key variances. The report also highlighted the non-financial indicators including a summary of enrolment and staffing, which included a 37 FTE staffing increase from the original estimates. Total 2021-2022 expenditures are estimated at approximately $204.3 million, with no change in the estimates presented to the board in December 2021.
Revenue for COVID-19 expenditures total $4.9 million funded by the Ministry, with an additional $695,000 funded by the Board. Total COVID-19 expenditures amount to $5.57 million and include additional staffing for special education, remote learning costs, enhanced cleaning for school bus transportation, and costs for additional mental health supports, other technology related costs, ventilation, and additional teaching staff to reduce class sizes.
Draft Proposed Enrolment & Grant Projections for the 2022-2023 Budget
Board administration is finalizing the preliminary draft grant estimates for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, compared to the 2021-2022 Revised Estimates. Superintendent of Finance, Ashley Hutchinson, presented an overview of the 2022-2023 draft enrolment and grant revenues to the Board of Trustees.
The Ministry of Education Grants for Student Needs (GSN) funding is projected to be $26.1 billion provincially, an increase of 2.7 per cent, while the average provincial per-pupil funding is projected to be $13,059 in 2022-2023, which is an increase of $339 or 2.7 per cent from 2021-2022. GSN highlights include targeted investments for a range of initiatives. The CDSBEO forecasts total revenue of $204.7 million for 2022-2023, which represents an increase of $1.7 million from the revised estimates.
“The COVID-19 Learning Recovery Fund is time-limited and for temporary additional staffing to address learning recovery, delivery of remote learning, supports for special education, and maintaining enhanced cleaning standards,” noted Hutchinson.
Grant revenue is based on projected enrolment for October 2022 and March 2023. An increase of approximately 178 FTE is predicted for the next school year at this time, with an increase mainly in the secondary panel.
“We feel that the elementary enrolment projection is somewhat lower than where we expect to see it for September, and registrations have begun to pick up at our elementary schools.”
Hutchinson noted that recognizing the importance of promoting positive mental health, particularly in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, several mental health grants had been moved from the Priorities and Partnerships Funding (PPF) including the Supporting Student Mental Health grant, the Well-Being and Positive School Climates allocation, as well as a newly created Student Resilience and Mental Well-Being Funding.
“Funding for the Student Mental Health grant is increasing, along with the per pupil amount allocations. For 2022-2023, this amount will also be enveloped to ensure the funds are spent for school or school board-based mental health staffing, programs and initiatives. In addition, there is a new funding component for student resilience and mental well-being for evidence-based mental health programs and resources to support student resilience and well-being.”
The Ministry continues to review student transportation funding, and allocations for school operations will increase 2.3 per cent for commodity prices, and 3.15 per cent to support the higher costs related to longer use of ventilation systems and more frequent filter replacement. Support for ventilation systems and filter replacement was provided in 2021-2022 as a priority and partnership fund grant and is being transferred into the GSN for 2022-2023. The Board will also receive approximately $7.4 million in capital grants which will be used for various school condition improvement projects, school renewal, and capital priorities.
The proposed budget will be presented for approval at the June 21 board meeting.
“On behalf of all trustees, I would like to thank Superintendent Hutchinson, Finance Manager Traci Bloomfield, and the Finance team for their work in preparing this presentation. We appreciate all of the work that you do,” concluded Chair Lalonde.