Saskatoon

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools tightens its belt on spending

The Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools' board of education approved its self-described ‘belt-tightening’ budget for the 2016-17 academic year following a special meeting held Monday.

Provincial budget brings austerity measures for largest Catholic school division in Saskatchewan

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools will have to tighten its spending next academic as a result of the June 1st provincial budget. Saskatoon Public Schools will be voting on its budget Wednesday (James Hopkin/CBC)

The Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools' board of education approved its self described "belt-tightening" budget for the 2016-17 academic year following a special meeting held Monday.

While the June 1 provincial budget allowed for some additional operating funding to account for enrolment growth throughout its 44 schools, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools will have to resort to some cost-saving measures in light of enrolment growth, inflation, and increases to some teacher salaries.

We had to stretch out the dollars to every limit so we could have the least effect on the classroom learning.- Diane Boyko, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools

In order to maintain its services throughout its division, $6.5 million was needed. But this year's provincial budget dished out just $3.5 million. That's when the school board had to get creative with its spending.

"We had to stretch out the dollars to every limit so we could have the least effect on the classroom learning," said board of education chair Diane Boyko.

Vacant non-teaching positions won't be filled next year, and 11 schools will scale back its transportation for students by adjusting its bus schedules.

Program budgets will also be reduced overall for next year, which means less capacity for programs like English as an additional language, school counsellors, and literacy support staff.

"Administration did an admirable job to ensure that we did stay away from the classroom," Boyko said.

The board of education for Saskatoon Public Schools will be voting on its budget Wednesday.

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