Per-student funding in Peel is third-lowest in province



    Peel board approves balanced budget, despite $124 million funding gap

    TORONTO, June 12 /CNW/ - Trustees of the Peel District School Board
approved a budget of $1.2 billion for the 2007-08 school year. This balanced
budget is a $73 million increase in Ministry of Education funding from last
year. However, the funding gap between grants and actual costs in areas such
as transportation and staff costs is $45 million.
    "Obviously, there is some good news. Our funding is up about seven per
cent. There are positive provincial initiatives," said Janet McDougald, chair
of the board. "But - and it is a big one - the fact remains that the Peel
District School Board, the children of Peel, receive a grant that is the third
lowest in the province. This funding level translates into a funding gap of
$883 less for each and every Peel student. It totals over $120 million."
    The increase in the board's budget is due to several factors.

    
    -   Enrolment growth of 1.8 per cent accounts for about $20 million.
    -   The board has built five new elementary schools and one new secondary
        school, along with 27 major additions - 14 of which are for primary
        class size reduction.
    -   The funding of $9 million for primary class size will allow the board
        to hire 112 new teachers in 2007-08. This funding will allow the Peel
        board to meet the ministry expectation of 90 per cent of primary
        classrooms having no more than 20 students.
    -   The funding will provide a three per cent salary benchmark increase,
        cover the full cost of teacher preparation time, and provide
        additional elementary and secondary specialist teachers.

    The ministry funding for 2007-08 raises the following concerns for the
Peel board.

    -   The gap between ministry grants and actual salary and benefit costs
        remains at $20 million.
    -   Actual transportation costs still exceed grants by $6.5 million.
        Transportation in the Peel board has been under-funded for the past
        decade.
    -   There is no grant to cover the relocation of portables, which is
        expected to cost the board $5.5 million in 2007-08.
    -   The cost of special education programs is $5 million more than the
        grants provided.
    -   Changes to the funding formula designed to support smaller schools
        have had the unintended impact of reducing the grant for principals
        and vice-principals in Peel by $4.6 million.
    -   The Peel board has a funding shortfall of $4 million for supply
        teachers, despite spending less than the provincial average in this
        area.


    Note to media:     For the text of Janet McDougald's budget remarks,
                       go to www.peelschools.org or call 905-890-1010
                       (or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2809.
    




For further information:

For further information: about the Peel board budget, go to
www.peelschools.org; For a complete copy of the budget, call (905) 890-1010
(or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2012; Media contact: Janet McDougald, Chair, Peel
District School Board, (905) 278-1402; Reference: Sylvia Link, Manager of
Communications, (905) 890-1010, 1-800-668-1146, x2814, sylvia.link@peelsb.com


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