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Simcoe Muskoka Catholic board delivers balanced budget

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The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has delivered a balanced budget and in the process saved 100 teaching jobs.

The board passed an operating budget of $274, 698,545 for the 2019-2020 school year. In finding savings within the budget, combined with retirements, promotions and teachers leaving for other opportunities a total of 62 elementary and 38 secondary school jobs were recalled. These teachers had previously received lay-off notices.

The board has predicted a total of 26.5 jobs being eliminated overall as a result of the new student-teacher ratios. The number of teaching jobs combined with increasing student enrollment created the number of positions eliminated. 

“There is no doubt that these staffing cuts will impact program and service delivery for our students,” said Carol Corriveau-Truchon, Board Chair. “We can’t expect to increase class sizes, decrease staffing levels and still provide our students with the same number, variety and depth of programs and services – the math just doesn’t add up.”

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The Director of the Board, Brian Beal said it was a tough budget but a good result in the end.

“This budget was indeed challenging, but I am heartened that we were able to retain our focus on our strategic priorities and provide some measure of security in terms of program and service delivery for the upcoming year,” said Brian Beal, Director of Education. “Our employees are our most precious and valuable resource and so it was really important for us to recall those staff who received notices earlier this year when we were dealing with so much uncertainty surrounding our funding.”

With interim funding provided by the province, some of the jobs previously thought lost have been recalled.

“But, the provincial government did provide attrition funds to offset class size increases and that provided some temporary relief for staffing pressures for this upcoming year,” said Corriveau-Truchon.”

This fund is a short term solution, and may not be available in coming budget years.

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