Public school board approves budget with job losses
There are job losses in the new budget approved by the Greater Essex County District School Board.
Trustees passed a balanced budget for the 2019-2020 school year during a meeting on Tuesday.
The operating budget totals $463 million. It includes a deficit of $930,000 but trustees will cover that shortfall from money in the $19.7 million reserve fund.
The budget also calls for the elimination of 70 full-time positions. 37 of those are a direct result of losing major funding, according to Board Chair Jessica Sartori.
Sartori tells CTV News for the most part, staff affected will be able to find work through the supply list.
Superintendent of Finance Shelley Armstrong says they know of 14 people who plan to retire and another 14 staff are taking a leave of absence.
But Armstrong notes enrolment numbers in the fall could impact the number of staff as well.
Sartori says it wasn't the budget they wanted to approve, but one they had to pass.
"We heard the trustees indicating that there was reluctance," says Sartori. "I think that administration did a fantastic job with presenting a balanced budget.”
Armstrong says funding news from the provincial government came much later than previous years and that made the budget process more challenging.
Trustees also approved a capital budget of $79 million.
The budget approval happened on the same day a rally was held outside of the Greater Essex County District School Board office on Park Street.
The “No Cuts to Education” rally late Tuesday afternoon was attended by teachers, support staff, parents, students and New Democrat MPP’s Percy Hatfield and Taras Natyshak.
The President of the Greater Essex County Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, Adelina Cecchin, says they are concerned the province will make more cuts.
"I think this is just the beginning and I think that's the concern with a lot of the trustees, with teachers, parents and the public that this may just be the beginning,” says Cecchin.