SUDBURY— The Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) approved a budget of $182.5 million for the 2015-2016 school year at its regular meeting on June 30. Changes in the Grants for Student Needs and ongoing declining enrolment resulted in a budget shortfall of $1.66 million.
“These changes will continue to have a negative impact on our revenue,” said RDSB Chair Doreen Dewar. “We estimate a reduction of approximately $4 million in our grants over the next three years. This is a significant loss for our board.”
“In order to balance the budget for the coming school year, trustees had to make some difficult decisions,” the chair continued. “We will need to continue to look for efficiencies to reduce our expenditures in the years ahead, including the consolidation of space and programs.”
The 2015-2016 budget represents a decrease in non-teaching staff, program budgets, professional learning for staff, and budgets for academic superintendents. A total of $463,000 has been withdrawn from the accumulated surplus reserve.
The RDSB is projecting a decline of 279 full-time equivalent students this fall. Enrolment is predicted to drop to 13,441. A total of 77 percent of the budget, or $141 million, has been allocated to salaries and benefits.
The Ministry of Education has provided additional funding to assist with rising electricity costs in schools. The second year of a three-year capital renewal program will be implemented in 2015-2016. Funding for school capital projects will almost double, reaching $5.3 million.
There are 35 elementary school buildings and nine secondary school buildings operating under the RDSB in Sudbury, Espanola, Manitoulin and Shining Tree.
The board also offers educational programs at Barrydowne College (a re-engagement school at Cambrian College), the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre, the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, the Children’s Treatment Centre, the Ruth MacMillan Centre, Frank Flowers School and Cecil Facer Secondary School.