Public school board facing $11.7 million budget deficit

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By Nick Seebruch
Public school board facing $11.7 million budget deficit
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CORNWALL, Ontario – The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) the region’s public education board has announced that it is facing a steep budget deficit going into its 2019-2020 budget process.

The board states that it has asked it’s administrative staff for reports on programs that they may not be able to fund in the next school year and on programs where cuts may be possible.

The UCDSB states that the budget deficit will not allow it to cover expenses for the following programs: Special Education, supply teachers, school office staffing and the Rural Guidance Counsellor Project.

According to a media release sent out by the UCDSB, the board is looking at cutting office support staff, Early Childhood Educator positions, Special Education programs, cutting funding from the Rural & Northern Education Program that funds rural guidance counsellors, cutting staff at TR Leger and more.

RELATED STORY: 100 teachers laid off by UCDSB

Board Chair John McAllister acknowledged that there were difficult decisions to be made to reduce the budget deficit.

“It’s clear that we will have a lot to consider in the coming weeks. The Board of Trustees will work with staff and the recommendations provided to us to pass a budget that meets Ministry of Education requirements and the needs of our students and staff,” McAllister said.

UCDSB student parent Jennifer MacIsaac said that she was concerned that the board was moving on cuts before they had all the facts.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing to see school boards scrambling to plan for next year with funding cuts and limited details from the Ministry,” she said. “The unknowns are making it very difficult for administrators, teachers and mostly the students who are trying to map out their educational path to graduation. These cuts will affect all students as the number and variety of courses have been impacted. I am highly concerned that special education students will be even more affected by larger classes and less support staff.”

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