School District 8’s Board of Education adopted its 2019-20 budget last week, worth $69 million. The budget is overall one per cent higher than the budget for the current school year and includes increases in spending for diverse learners and Aboriginal education.
Superintendent Dr. Christine Perkins is pleased with the way things went. “We wanted to have things structured differently this year and strived for a collaborative, inclusive, balanced budget process,” she says.
The district was able to incorporate nearly 8,000 thoughts on the budget process through the use of community intelligence software ThoughtExchange. Feedback to the board office came from students, staff, parents and community.
Priorities from this survey focused on mental health, early learning, and continued professional development for both CUPE and teaching staff.
“We will be hiring two new positions, a manager of safe schools and co-ordinator of mental health and addictions. This addresses the attention we need to pay to the social and emotional needs of our learners,” Perkins says.
“We are happy to be able to continue with year two of our Focus, Learn, Excel initiative to assist in improving achievement for our students, including early learning, and we are pleased to continue with year two of our technology modernization plan with website upgrades, infrastructure upgrades, and support improvements,” says board chair Lenora Trenaman.
Creative ideas to lower costs came from all participants.
“One proposal from the principals and vice-principals was a district-wide base elementary school fee for supplies for $40. This should help to get better prices for supplies and be more equitable and affordable for our young families,” says secretary-treasurer Michael McLellan.
Capital spending includes $300,000 for a dust collector at L.V. Rogers and $750,000 for windows at Hume School, to be completed over the summer; $105,000 for a playground at Winlaw, and $100,000 for preparatory work for the expansion of Blewett Elementary.