Waterloo school board grapples with $4.3M deficit

The Waterloo Region District School Board is struggling with a projected $4.3 million shortfall for the next school year brought on by dwindling enrolment and new rules from the Ministry of Education that affect funding.

Fiscal gap due to declining enrolment and new 'unanticipated' provincial rules

Trustees with the Waterloo Region District School Board face some tough choices at their upcoming June 24 meeting, when they vote on a plan to deal with a projected $4.3 million gap for the next school year, brought on by declining enrolment and changes to Ministry of Education policies that affect funding.

The dwindling number of students signing up for class means the board requires fewer teachers in the classroom, according to the WRDSB's Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Michael Weinert.

"When we looked at enrolment for secondary [school], it dropped significantly and when we run the models to generate the number of teachers required for next September, it was 44 positions fewer than what this year," he said Wednesday.

Weinert said most of the jobs will be shed through attrition.

"We have retirements, we have resignations, we have individuals who go on maternity leaves or go on leaves of absence, so to date that number of 44 that we would have give layoff notices to, we have been able to place the majority of them, all but four, into positions either as contract teachers or filling in as long-term occasional teachers for next year."

Declining enrolment will cost the school board $3.3 million dollars in provincial grants. An additional $1 million was lost due to changes to the rules governing funding by the Ministry of Education that the board says it didn't anticipate.