The St. Paul Education Regional Division No. 1 Board of Trustees approved its 2018-19 budget at a meeting held May 30, 2018.
The $57,486,995 budget is projecting a $1,095,937 deficit and is based on an enrolment of 3,894 students.
The projected deficit is in addition to approximately $1,000,000 in expense reductions. The adjustments were necessary to bring staffing in line with a 283 student decrease over the last four years as the economy slowed.
Trustees had been holding the line in the hope that enrollment might rebound however, as this has not happened, some adjustments were necessary.
Secretary-Treasurer Jean Champagne indicated that the projected deficit is manageable and will be offset by reserves. He cautioned that the budget is a projection and that there are still many unknowns such as actual enrolment, collective agreements and tuition rates.
Board Chair, Heather Starosielski, stated the Division had little choice but to adjust to new enrolment patterns. It was pointed out that class size and pupil teacher ratios remain among the lowest in the province and the Board continues to emphasize having teachers there for students.
Superintendent Glen Brodziak stated that while the needs are always greater than the resources, the achievement and well-being of our students and families is always first and foremost.
The budget provides stability and supports key priorities including indigenous education, Catholic education and small school supports. The Division is also implementing a home schooling program based out of Myrnam and increasing career planning supports.