The Northern Lights School Division said budget pressures have resulted in staff reductions and redirecting money away from building maintenance and school supplies.
“The Division had to reduce our teaching staff by 13 from 312 down to 299. The reductions result in 10 less teaching staff at our physical schools, 2 less online teachers and 1 less consultant position,” said Tom Harrington, Chief financial Officer for the Northern Lights School Division. “The decision to reduce teaching staff is never easy, but it had to be done to balance the budget as the Division continues to see reduced enrolment numbers at our schools.”
Other pressures facing the school division include; increases to staff CPP, EI, fuel and building insurance. Harrington explained insurance has risen 30 percent and he is anticipating it will cost more to heat schools this coming winter.
“To cover these inflationary costs in employee benefits, insurance, utilities and other goods, we simply will have less dollars to spend on maintaining our buildings and buying supplies for our schools,” he said.
Yet, its not all gloomy for the school division, as it was able to keep existing staffing levels for Teacher Assistants and Education Assistants.
“The Division also reduced funding for budgets that are administered centrally by the Division, but kept school budgets constant and with slight increases in schools that have seen year over year enrollment increases,” Harrington explained.
Many school boards in the province are facing similar situations in attempting to balance their budgets. In Regina families will be charged for lunchtime supervision to help recoup some costs. The province said it will work with school divisions on their budgets.