June 19, 2019

Board approves student-focused, balanced budget for 2019-20

​“During these challenging times in public education, we must continue to pursue excellence and inspire success, confidence and hope,” says Peel board chair

Trustees of the Peel District School Board approved a balanced, operating budget of $1.91 billion for the 2019-20 school year, subject to Ministry of Education approval. Most of the budget is allocated to fixed costs—salaries and benefits, busing, classroom resources and technology, maintenance, utilities and other day-to-day operating costs. 

In his remarks at the Regular Meeting of the Board on June 19, 2019, Chair of the Board Stan Cameron shared, “What I love about magic is that it allows us to experience the impossible—to wonder and ponder and consider all of the options. Throughout this process, difficult decisions were made as we looked for administrative efficiencies while exploring ways to optimize funding to best support student success and well-being. After considering all of the possibilities, my trustee colleagues and I will approve a balanced budget tonight.”

The budget focuses on the projects in the Peel board’s Plan for Student Success, which includes the following goals:
  • equity and inclusion
  • high expectations for achievement
  • parent, community and staff engagement
  • safe, positive, healthy climate/well-being
Explained Cameron, “Over the past few months, Ontarians have been told that the province has increased funding to public education. However, when you look into the details and look at the numbers from year to year, we’re getting less funding overall. Although funding has increased in some areas, like transportation, overall, the Peel board, who will experience a 0.2% enrolment increase next year, will receive $27.9 million less in grant funding than it did in 2018-19, outside of the monies received to honour the completion of centrally negotiated labour commitments.”

In addition to working with Peel board staff to develop the budget, the board sought input from the board's senior administration, principals and vice-principals, and employee group leaders. To gather further input, the board used an online survey and received nearly 750 responses from staff, students, families, School Council members and community members. “As elected officials, it is our responsibility to ensure the voices of our communities are represented. Thank you to those who shared their input with us,” noted Cameron. “As always, we will continue to advocate for fair funding that support the needs of all our learners.”

Given Ministry of Education funding changes, priority was placed on maintaining frontline staff and supporting the Peel board’s most vulnerable students. Again this year, the Peel board will spend more than its allocated funding to support students with special education needs as these needs continue to grow. For a sixth consecutive year, the board approved an increase in the number of teaching assistants in Peel schools:
  • maintaining 60 teaching assistant (TA) supports for students with special needs that were previously funded through local priorities funding
  • adding 50 long-term occasional TA positions 
  • adding 18 new permanent TAs
With the operating budget focusing on meeting program delivery, the board approved an additional $3.5 million from reserves to support one-time business cases that primarily support student technology needs and extracurricular activities. In addition, the 2019-20 budget is able to support adding two staff to support registration and assessment of newcomers at the board’s We Welcome the World Centres, and ongoing support of Camp SAIL (Summer Adventures In Learning).

“The Board's student-focused budget for 2019-20 demonstrates fiscal responsibility, by ensuring funds directly support the great work of staff to make a positive difference in the lives of Peel students,” said Director of Education Peter Joshua.

“Throughout the years, the Peel board has remained unwavering in its student-focus and commitment to equity and inclusion, in setting budget priorities that put students first. Providing high-quality, educational opportunities for all students continues to be a goal of this board,” noted Cameron. “During these challenging times in public education, we must continue to pursue excellence and inspire success, confidence and hope in each student. We will not achieve this by waving a magic wand over this or any future budget. Instead, we must tap into the good will and expertise of our staff, families, volunteers and community members to continue to provide high-quality learning opportunities for all.”

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Media contact: Stan Cameron, Chair, Peel District School Board, stan.cameron@peelsb.com, 416-779-5425

Reference: Carla Pereira, Director of Communications and Community Relations, Peel District School Board, carla.pereira@peelsb.com, 905-890-1010 ext. 2812

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