TRURO – Chignecto-Central Regional School Board has released some preliminary budget figures going into the next fiscal year.
Superintendent Gary Clarke spoke about how the $18.2 million of new educational initiatives designated by the province last week will impact the local school board.
There are many areas that will receive some funding locally. For example, said Clarke, out of $7.2 million provincially, $1.32 million is allocated to CCRSB to help retain class size caps in Grades Primary to 2. That will result in hiring 33 more teachers, confirmed Clarke.
“I can’t help but see it as a benefit … it’s really positive,” he told the Truro Daily News Wednesday night at a school board meeting in Stewiacke.
Regarding early literacy initiatives, $3.5 million will be invested throughout the province. CCRSB’s share is $280,000 to extend specialized reading initiatives from Grades Primary to 2 up to Grade 3. An additional $295,000 will be given to the school board to support the reading recovery “intervention” program in four sites throughout CCRSB. Those sites have not yet been identified.
The one-on-one intervention program is for Grade 1 students who require a higher amount of help in reading.
The school board’s math strategy initiative will receive $309,000 out of a provincial budget of $2.4 million. It will go towards “short and long term” student and teacher support systems to help
“unsuccessful” Grade 10 students with the goal of helping them pass a course and grade.
Student support grants is another area that will receive special funding. Out of a provincial purse of $2.2 million, CCRSB will receive $395,000.
“Five thousand will go to each school in the board and throughout the province,” said Clarke, to support school activities so they
don’t have to fundraise as much.
An additional $1 per student will be added to the $5,000. There will be strict policies on what can be used under this funding and may include paying for guest speakers, curriculum trips or bus fares for trips.
High needs funding is also included in the provincial budget. Out of $1.5 million, CCRSB will receive $219,000 to be used for
“unexpected” needs. This will be based on claims made.
Also, $384,000 will be given to CCRSB for guidance counsellors.
“Only three boards got this. It’s to reduce the student-to-guidance counsellor ratio,” said Clarke.
He said the current provincial high school ratio is one counsellor for 500 students.
“This (funding) will help us start getting guidance counsellors in the elementary level. It will begin the process … hopefully in four years we’ll have them in all elementary schools,” Clarke said.
There is $907,000 being put into this initiative province-wide.
Clarke said there is a “long way to go with (our) budget process” and these are only a few of the items being reviewed. The CCRSB budget for 2014-2015 isn’t expected to be released until May, or more likely, June.