News Local

Budget on track to be balanced early

By Nathan Taylor, Orillia Packet & Times

The deadline for school boards to submit their budgets to the province is a month away, and the Catholic board is on track to hand in a balanced one.

The preliminary operating budget is currently at $194,520,406 and the capital budget is at $18,580,640.

The deadline for submitting the budget to the Ministry of Education is June 27, but the board is still waiting to learn how much it will receive in government grants.

The board's projections, subject to change, include moderate increases and a few decreases in grant allocations.

The First Nation supplement is expected to be $127,765, representing a decrease of 3.19% from last year, while the small schools/distant schools allocation is projected to be $1,154,424 -- an increase of $47,395.

Professional development funding is not even on the books right now -- a cut of $183,457.

With the board expecting 657 students fewer than last year, funding to offset declining enrolment is pegged at $1,850,000. That's an increase of nearly 170%.

The board plans to put a bit more money toward the classrooms.

Nearly $2 million more than last year has been allocated in the "classroom and other teachers" section of the budget, bringing that total to $116,390,528. More money has also been earmarked under the "education assistant" and "supply teachers" sections.

The increase in funding doesn't necessarily mean an increase in staff, explained Diane Legg, manager of corporate communications and public affairs. Reasons could include inflationary expenses and salary increases, she said.

The board has not yet determined whether or not additional educational assistants will be required for the 2009-10 year.

The next board meeting is May 27, and Legg expected an update on grants would be presented to trustees at that time.

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