Seeking Community Input: Proposed TCDSB Multi-Year Budget Reduction/Recovery Plan

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Dear TCDSB Ward 9 Community –

As you may remember from my community update last May, we were informed by the Ministry last year that there would be further funding cuts this year and next:  namely, $8 million in our Grants for Student Needs ($5M of which was based on expected enrollment drops), $1.5 million to Special Education and $250,000 to Administration.

Staff have tabled a report (Item 16b) for this Thursday’s Board meeting with a proposal for a multi-year plan which will see us eliminate our accumulated and in-year deficits in 3 years time – the timeframe given to us by the Ministry.

The staff report on the Thursday, 28th January, 2016, Board agenda outlines 4 main things:

1. Context setting – including a report provided by Deloitte last summer, which details what we already knew which is that  we spend millions more than we are provincially funded in classroom, library and guidance teachers (largely related to Special Education), Educational Assistants, and Transportation — to highlight but three major areas of budget imbalance.

The human resources overspend is a result both of the resources we allocate for our students and the fact that TCDSB teacher, vice principal and principal salaries and benefits are not fully-funded, as has been detailed in annual Budget Consultation Presentations.

2. The Director’s proposed plan for budget reductions over the next 3 years to eliminate our accumulated and in-year deficits.

3. Diagrams outlining the new models for delivery, including Special Education which will continue to be centrally lead and supported, but ongoing management is a largely decentralized and managed by School Superintendents and Principals. A decentralized delivery model like those used by other school boards (and apparently once used by the TCDSB).

4. Proposed Plan for Consultation over the next month. The consultation period ends with the 18th February board meeting as we must provide our 3-year recovery plan to the Ministry by the end of February.  Proposed opportunities to provide feedback, questions, concerns or ideas are detailed in the staff report (Item 16b).

The only thing we are being asked to approve this Thursday is the proposed plan for public consultation – parents, students,  our Special Education Advisory Committee, and union partners, as well as the broader TCDSB-supporting community – on the proposed multi-year recovery plan.

We must approve a multi-year budget recovery plan at 18th February Board meeting.

I would ask school community’s in our Ward 9 to please discuss this CRITICAL item at your next CSPC – parent council – meeting and e-mail (jo-ann.davis(@) or phone me (416-512-3409) with your community’s feedback, questions, concerns or suggestions.

I would also ask for input from those in the wider TCDSB Ward 9 community – those in City Wards 19, 20, 21, 22, 27 and 28 or provincial ridings Toronto-Centre, Trinity Spadina and St Paul’s.

I understand that you may not have have specific budget reduction or revenue-generating proposals, but as your trustee I would like to bring the concerns and questions of the community to the Board table.

Rest assured that I will be asking questions in the public Board meetings regarding the proposed plan, the decentralized Special Education delivery model, and options available for budget reductions and revenue-generation.  I will be seeking details on the all-important data and metrics we will be using to track, monitor and regularly report back on, the impact of the approved plan to the achievement and overall well being of our students. As well as the professional development and ongoing support opportunities for our principals and teachers – upon whom each of our students rely.

I would encourage those who are able to do so, to provide their input at a meeting of the board of trustees.  The process for “delegating” (speaking) at a meeting of the Board of Trustees can be found on this site.

Thank you for taking the time to get informed and engaged – critical to the present and future Catholic education of all our children across this great city.

A reminder that you can watch all of our public meeting online via the TCDSD’s live webstream.

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