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Board approves operating budget of $397 million

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The Grand Erie District School Board has approved an operating budget of $397 million for the 2024-2025 school year.

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As increasing student enrollment continues to drive increased revenue, Grand Erie’s operating budget increased by approximately $28 million over the previous year.

Rafal Wyszynski, superintendent of business and treasurer, said the priority is to invest in the staff that supports instruction. New teaching positions and permanent teaching assistant positions will be created. Funding for professional development and technology will also be increased, with a significant portion of the funding dedicated to the board’s action plan for math achievement.

Provincial testing results released last October showed that the Grand Erie District School Board had made some modest improvements but remained below the provincial average in all assessment areas.

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The results show that the percentage of students who achieved the provincial standard – roughly equivalent to a grade B – in mathematics was 50 percent in grade 3, 37 percent in grade 6 and 39 percent in grade 9.

For the coming school year, 85 new employees will be hired, including 49 teachers, 15 permanent teaching assistants and seven kindergarten teachers.

Major non-personnel investments include additional funding for transportation, technological infrastructure, teaching materials and facility operating costs.

The school board also approved a capital budget of $23.5 million for investments in buildings, school grounds, renovations and repairs.

A total of 27,900 students are expected for the coming school year, which is about 900 more than planned in the 2023-2024 budget.

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Education Director JoAnna Robeto said the operating budget incorporated input from the community, including students, staff and parents, who made suggestions for the best allocation of funds.

“We have a solid financial footing and have purposefully and strategically aligned this budget to reflect our commitment to student learning and well-being,” Roberto said. “Additional investments in technology and professional development for educators will continue to support sound instructional practices and classroom resources to maximize learning and impact.”

The Ontario school board fiscal year runs from September 1 to August 31. Both Grand Erie’s operating and capital budgets have been submitted to the Ministry of Education.

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