Date: Thursday, June 16, 2016
Port Hastings, NS:— The Strait Regional School Board approved a $79,000,785 budget for 2016-2017 during a Special Board Meeting held on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
Declining enrolment continues to be a major challenge for the Strait Regional School Board. In 1996 when the Board was formed, there were 11,476 students enrolled. Currently, during the 2015-2016 school year, there are 6,280 students, a decline of 45%. The Strait Regional School Board’s projected preliminary enrolment for the 2016 –2017 school year is 6,083, an additional decline of 197 students.
In the last five years, the Board’s enrolment has declined by 988 students which is greater than the enrolment in the Board’s largest school. Enrolment is projected to decrease by another 21% or approximately 1,200 students during the next 10 years. Declining enrolment, coupled with the fact that 8 of the Board’s 21 schools have a facility utilization rate of under 50 percent (50%), are significant cost pressures affecting the fiscal reality of the Strait Regional School Board.
To balance the budget, the following measures have been implemented:
- 9.35 full-time equivalent (FTE) school-based teaching positions were reduced to reflect the decline in enrolment. These reductions were addressed through attrition and no permanent or probationary contract teaching positions were affected;
- 3.78 full-time equivalent (FTE) Teacher Assistant positions were reduced. This reduction is based on student needs as a result of the completion of a comprehensive Teacher Assistant Audit;
- Three (3) positions were eliminated in Regional Office;
- Small reduction in school-based support staff positions;
- Efficiencies realized in the areas of transportation/facilities; and
- Savings achieved through retirements and leaves.
However, the Strait Regional School Board continues to significantly benefit from a number of provincially targeted funding initiatives implemented by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development as part of Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education to support student achievement. Specifically, the Board has benefitted from a funding increase of $639,100 from $4,055,000 in 2015-2016 to $4,694,100 for 2016-2017 in provincially targeted initiatives primarily in the following areas:
- Continuation of the class size cap for Grades Primary to 4;
- Implementation of a class size cap of 25 students for Grades 5 and 6;
- Mathematics, Early Literacy and Skilled Trades support; and
- Continuation of Student Support Grants.
This additional funding has allowed the Board to implement programming that it otherwise would not have been able to do without this support of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
“As a Board, our efforts will continue to be focused on providing students in the Strait Region with the best possible learning opportunities and on trying to minimize the impact of any adjustments on the classroom,” said Chair Boudreau.
As part of the School Board’s annual budgeting process, all areas of spending are reviewed to ensure the strategic use of all resources and to ensure that the best financial decisions are made.
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For more information, Please Contact: 1-800-650-4448
Ford Rice, Superintendent of Schools, 902-625-7065;
Francine Boudreau, Chair, 902-631-5010;
Deanna Gillis, Coordinator of Communications, 902-625-7093; firstname.lastname@example.org