At the June 21, 2021, Regular Meeting of the Board, Trustees passed the DSBN’s 2021/2022 budget totaling $522,650,999 – $22 million higher than the budget for the 2020/2021 school year. The average cost of education per student is expected to be $12,686 – a growth of 1.2 per cent, or $152 per student from 2020/2021*.
The budget for the next school year focuses on the continuation and expansion of academic programs and supports, while investing in COVID-19 recovery for students and staff.
“Through the development of this budget, Trustees worked to balance COVID-19 recovery, with investment in student programs that provide ongoing resources to help them be successful in school,” said Kevin Maves, Chair of the Finance Committee and Trustee for Niagara Falls.
The additional $22 million in the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) is due in part to more students enrolling at DSBN schools during the 2021/2022 school year paired with COVID-19-related funding. The projected enrolment for 2021/2022 is 39,250 students, an increase of 1,404, or 3.71 per cent from the 2020/2021 enrolment. This rise in enrolment will lead to the addition of over 70 teachers.
Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on mental health, Trustees were pleased that the government included additional, permanent mental health funding into the GSN. The DSBN will receive an additional $153,000 to bring our permanent funding for mental health to approximately $1,315,000. Because this funding is permanent, these funds can be relied upon for future mental health strategies.
These funds will be allocated to programs supporting student mental health such as professional learning for educators and collaborating with community mental health providers for students requiring more intensive supports.
“As we look toward in-person learning for the 2021/2022 school year, one of our core priorities is student mental health and well-being. Investing in the skills and strategies that will be applied by staff is an important part of supporting student mental health and well-being,” said Warren Hoshizaki, Director of Education.
Next year’s budget has allocated $70,000 to support a concussion partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). DSBN has been on the forefront of concussion management for almost a decade, collaborating with concussion experts resulting in best practices, strategies, and procedures to be carried out when students or staff sustain a concussion.
This brand new partnership enables DSBN staff or students who have a suspected concussion to go to HHS to have an immediate concussion review. The new initiative also includes concussion training for wellness staff, and union partners.
The 2021/2022 budget will continue funding many of the excellent programs that are already in place to help students succeed. For example, professional learning for educators is supported with an investment of $190,000. Educators will have the opportunity to enroll in DSBN-sponsored Additional Qualification (AQ) courses in Mental Health, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education, as well as Mathematics, Literacy, and Equity.
As skilled trades become increasingly in-demand for Ontario’s economy, it is important that students can understand the many careers that are available to them in the future. The budget supported the Try-A-Trade Program and Makers resources, with $100,000 to continue next year.
The Board also assigned $65,000 for the Tutors in the Classroom program to be offered again this year. Through this program, the DSBN hires post-secondary students enrolled in Colleges and Universities to tutor students in grades JK-6. This program supports literacy and numeracy, and also models the importance of lifelong learning to younger students.
Trustees continue to support synthetic turf fields and tracks at the DSBN with $30,000 allocated to maintenance and equipment. Trustees expect to add more synthetic turf fields and tracks to DSBN schools in the future. Currently the DSBN has eight synthetic turf fields and tracks, and Trustees expect to add more to this complement in the future.
“The 2021/2022 budget places us in a great position to welcome students back for in-person learning, and offer them the breadth of programming and educational experiences that they deserve,” said Director Hoshizaki.
*These figures are provided in the Grants for Student Needs Memo – May 4, 2021, which can be found here: https://efis.fma.csc.gov.on.ca/faab/Memos/B2021/B08_EN.pdf