Saskatchewan Rivers School Division’s budget cuts deep

The effects of the provincial budget passed in March continue to be felt in Prince Albert as groups complete their budgets.

The latest organization to reveal how the spending reductions will affect services is the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division. The 2017-18 budget was passed Monday, and includes large spending reductions as the division deals with a reduction in almost $2 million in provincial money.

“(We made) significant changes, difficult changes, but changes we think will allow us to do the best we possibly can in the circumstances to provide that excellence for every learner in our system,” said director of education Robert Bratvold. “It affects lots of areas.”

Even though the school division received a $200,000 increase in provincial grant money to be spent on infrastructure maintenance and renewal, as well as a $240,000 increase in federal education grant money (for indigenous students), the reduction in revenue was $1,989,307. It was up to the division to find that balance within its budget.

The biggest source of funding for the school division is its grant from the provincial government. Grants in general make up about 85 per cent of the division’s revenue, and less money was received this year than last.

As indicated by Bratvold, the division made cuts across the board. But one of the biggest impacts is in the school division’s most expensive expense – teacher salaries.

The instructional category, which makes up 67.29 per cent of the overall budget, was reduced by $1.83 million. This includes reductions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in teacher contract salaries, supportive instructional salaries and program/technical support salaries.

Other reductions affecting the classroom include non-teacher program support, instructional aid an academic supplies.

“In any school division one of your biggest budget areas is staffing and so that has been impacted by the budget,” Bratvold said.

“We will lose a superintendent position, we’ll lose several consulting coordinator positions. We will lose some teaching positions. We will lose some support staff positions.”

For more on this story, please see the April 28 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.

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