Rainbow Board continues to seek answers as to why funding cut by $1.3 million

SUDBURY—While the funding shortfalls from the province won’t be as severe as had been feared for the current Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) budget, the news isn’t as good for the following year’s budget, says its director of education.

“The immediate shortfall for the 2018-2019 school board budget show an approximate shortfall of $275,000, something we can probably work with-with no loss of programs or staff,” explained Norm Blaseg, director of education of the RDSB last week.

However, the news is certainly a lot worse for the following year. “Future-wise, typically we put personnel in place and the apply for funding to support this,” said Mr. Blaseg, “but we can’t confirm the supports being in place for 2019-2020. Our board will see a $1 million loss in funding for 2019-2020.”

As was reported previously, the RDSB received a memo from the province (Ministry of Education) notifying us that their special incidents portion (SIP) funding was being modified. Mr. Blaseg explained the government has changed the formula for distributing $28 million—a process the government created. The RDSB had been approved for $1.5 million in funding that had been approved last spring. But they (province) have decided this funding will be allocated from the SIP to Special Education for Pupil account (SEP).”

“Here’s the dilemma, under the SIP program we were supposed to receive $1,493,400,” Mr. Blaseg told the Recorder. “That was taken away and redistributed to the SEP account and we received a total of $170,588, so we lost $1.3 million in funding when you compare it to the funding we had been promised in the spring.”

Mr. Blaseg said some school boards have seen their funding increase while others saw a decrease. “Those dollars count on work we carry out with our highest needs students. We are at a loss at all of this and are working with the ministry on this for clarification. It is unfortunate.” He pointed out, “Northern boards like Algoma, Timmins and North Bay all saw a reduction in funding, but we (RDSB) were hit the hardest by far in reductions. Not one other board (in the north) is proportionately on the same level as we are.”

“At least we have time to see if, and exactly what, the impacts in the funding cuts will be,” said Mr. Blaseg. “At this point we don’t know to what degree the affects are going to be in total, but it will be in the 2019-2020 budget.”