SIMCOE MUSKOKA CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD
On Thursday, the Board of Trustees for the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) passed a balanced operating budget for the 2020-2021 school year in the amount of $279,431,785. The board also approved a 1 per cent operating reserve.
The board’s funding is based on enrolment as well as special funds allocated from the Ministry of Education called Grants for Student Needs (GSNs). The Board’s projected enrolment remains static at just under 22,000 students and the government did not make significant changes to its grant allocations (GSNs) to school boards. This means that staff was able to present trustees with a status quo budget, which essentially maintains consistent funding for delivery of programs and services during this time of uncertainty.
Not reflected in this budget are the extraordinary expenses that the Board may expect due to COVID-19 and the reopening of schools. The Ministry of Education has not yet provided funding to support these types of expenses.
“The priority of our staff was to present us with a budget that maintains programs for students as much as possible given that we are experiencing relatively flat enrolment numbers and received a modest increase to government grant allocations,” said Joe Zerdin, board chair. “It was definitely a difficult budget process for school boards across the province because we are all struggling with so much uncertainty related to COVID-19 and trying to plan for what the new school year will look like.”
“We know there will be unknown financial burdens when students return to school and we will do our best to plan for that, with anticipated support from the Ministry. In the meantime, this budget enables us to, at a minimum, continue providing students with the programs and services they benefited from last year, pre-COVID-19.”******************