Board of Trustees of the Near North District School Board approved a 2021-2022 operating budget of $160.9 million at Tuesday night's meeting.
Ministry of Education funding to boards is provided based on enrolment and the needs of students in each board. NNDSB expects to receive 90 per cent of its operating revenue from the province in the form of operating grants based on enrolment of almost 9,500 students in the next school year.
According to a news release, expenditures are projected at $161.2 million, resulting in a deficit of $417,000, or 0.3 per cent of the total budget.
"COVID has significantly impacted revenue and expenses this year," says the release. "The Ministry of Education is allowing boards to access previous years’ surpluses to assist with the current budget. The Ministry has allowed two per cent of operating grants ($2.9 million for NNDSB) but asked boards to budget half this amount."
This year’s operating budget projects a decrease of $3.4 million (2.1 per cent) less revenue than 2020-2021 revised estimates.
The budget has been prepared with the knowledge there will be support for remote learning in the fall, though there was not enough information to determine the number of students registered with the remote school. There will be further Priorities and Partnership Funds (PPF) announced in the coming weeks which may reduce the deficit.
Seventy-one per cent of operating expenses are spent on instruction. A further 17 per cent is on pupil accommodation, which are costs associated with maintaining the buildings that house students.
Board Chair Jay Aspin exclaimed, “What a year! This board has overseen the consolidation of three high schools into two and put final touches on the consolidation of three elementary schools into one in North Bay, as well as the consolidation of two elementary schools with a high school to form a K-12 school in the Parry Sound area."
The completion of the Board's Multi-Year Strategic Plan will focus resources on student achievement and well-being over the next five years.
“Every staff member deployed new and innovative methods of instruction to deal with disruptions in the face of a costly and unpredictable pandemic," added Aspin. "All these accomplishments have been achieved with a small deficit due to the dedication and hard work of all members of the Near North board. It has been a remarkable year that has moved our board forward considerably despite being challenged by extremely difficult conditions.”
The full budget report can be found beginning on Page 91 of the agenda package.