April 26, 2019

Message from the Peel District School Board related to the Ministry of Education’s recent funding announcement

Today, the Ministry of Education announced school board funding allocations, also known as Grants for Student Needs (GSN). What we heard were overall, province-wide budget numbers. At this time, we are waiting to learn the specific allocations for the Peel District School Board. We expect to receive board-specific details in the next two weeks. When we have reviewed our funding allocations, we will provide an update to the community.

The ministry's GSN memo confirms some of what had been previously referred to by the ministry and new provincial funding details. Here's a brief overview:

  • Class size changes were confirmed.
    • Kindergarten - There are no changes to either the caps or the average class size requirements. Funded average class sizes would remain at the current level of 25.57, but there is a reduction to funded Designated Early Childhood Educators (DECE) from 1.14 to 1.0. The ministry will also introduce new funding to assist with DECE supply costs. The class size regulation requires that on our count date, the average Kindergarten class size across the board be no larger than 26, with no class being larger than 29.
    • Primary (grades 1 to 3) – There are no proposed changes to either the caps or the average class size requirements of 19.8 students.
    • Intermediate (grades 4 to 8) – All school boards will be required to maintain a board-wide average class size of 24.5 or less, while the funded average class size would move from 23.84 to 24.5. This has already resulted in staffing cuts at the Peel board.
    • ​Secondary (grades 9 to 12) – Average class size requirements have been adjusted from 22 to 28 students. This increase will be phased in over the next four years. In Peel, our class sizes in secondary will move from 22 to 23.74 in 2019-20, resulting in staffing cuts.
  • As a result of increases to secondary class sizes, students will have less choice when selecting courses. We expect course re-selection to take place in many Peel secondary schools this Spring.
  • We are pleased to hear that the government will provide attrition protection funding to protect staff impacted by changes to class sizes and e-learning. Once we learn the board-specific details, staff who were impacted by these changes will be contacted. It's not yet clear if this funding will also protect jobs that were affected by cuts to secondary programming and local priority funding, announced earlier this year, that are unrelated to class size increases. These changes have already resulted in staffing cuts at the Peel board.
  • The Ministry announced a Priorities and Partnerships Fund (PPF), replacing the previous Education Programs -  Other funding. For 2019-20, the PPF will provide up to $330 million in funding to support ministry priorities, including Indigenous education, math, mental health, parent engagement and special education. The program allocations are outlined here.
  • Provincially, the ministry will provide $15.2 million in a Behaviour Expertise Amount allocation. This allows school boards to hire more professional staff at the board level who have expertise in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and to increase training opportunities.
  • Ministry has indicated it will increase the School Renewal Allocation provincially by $40 million. This renewal funding is provided to address facility condition, provide healthy and safe learning environments, and address energy efficiency and accessibility requirements of schools. The amount of funding the Peel board will receive has not been shared yet.
  • To align with the proposed changes to secondary class sizes and to reflect other updates, the Supplementary Area Factor for school facility operations, within the School Facility Operations and Renewal Grant, will be updated. These changes will be phased in over five years and will likely result in a decrease in facilities funding. Board-specific details aren't yet available.
  • Transportation funding remains unclear at the board-level, but the ministry has indicated that it will increase funding by four per cent. This will not address our 15 per cent increase in transportation costs. We are waiting to hear what their stabilization funding will look like.
  • The ministry will provide a one per cent salary benchmark increase for staff in 2019-20, to reflect previously negotiated (2017-19), central labour agreements.
  • The ministry introduced an International Student Recovery Amount (ISRA). Beginning in 2019-20, a school board's total GSN operating grants will be reduced by an amount equal to a flat fee of $1,300 multiplied by the international student enrolment, pro-rated where the students are not full-time. In Peel, we welcome approximately 500 international students. This equals an approximate loss of funding of $650,000 for the Peel board.
We understand that you have many questions about what changes the new school year will bring. Once we have reviewed our board's funding allocation and the impacts it will have on schools and work sites, we will reach back out to you.

As we work through our budget process, we are mindful of the impact announcements and shifts in practice will have on both students and staff. Please be assured that we will do our best to support our community throughout these changing times.

As always, staff and Trustees will consider ways to optimize the funding we are given to best support student success and well-being. Providing high-quality, educational opportunities for students continues to be a goal. We will accomplish this working alongside talented administrators, educators, support staff, families, volunteers and community members to continue to provide safe and caring spaces for all.

Thank you for your ongoing understanding and support.

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