Rainbow School Board predicts stable numbers at Island schools as budget set

School populations expected to decline through much of balance of board catchment

SUDBURY—Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) approved a budget of $185.5 million for the 2016-2017 school year at its regular meeting on July 5, 2016. Changes in the Grants for Student Needs and ongoing declining enrolment resulted in a budget shortfall of $2.7 million.

“In 2015-2016, we estimated a reduction in our grants of approximately $4 million over three years,” said RDSB Chair Doreen Dewar. “This is the second year in which we are experiencing a significant loss in revenue.”

“The continuing shortfall will force us to make difficult decisions,” the chair added. “We must align our expenditures with our revenues for the long-term financial sustainability of the board. We will be looking at school consolidations to reduce costs and ensure the viability of programs.”

The 2016-2017 budget represents a net reduction of 10 full-time equivalent positions in both teaching and non-teaching staff as well as savings in overall operations. The budget includes ongoing funding for a Summer Kindergarten Camp in late August. In order to balance the budget, close to $2.4 million was withdrawn from the accumulated surplus reserve.

RDSB Board is projecting a decline of 270 full-time equivalent students this fall. Six of those are expected on Manitoulin. Enrolment is predicted to drop to 13,191 students. A total of 77 percent of the budget, or $143 million, has been allocated to salaries and benefits.

The Ministry of Education has provided additional funding for electricity costs and capital renewal.

Rainbow District School Board operates 35 elementary school buildings and nine secondary school buildings 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.