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School board adopts budget

Community

PICTOU – The Chignecto-Central Regional School Board has approved its 2016-17 budget.
They adopted a $206.3-million budget at its monthly meeting last week at Pictou Academy.
Board chairperson Trudy Thompson said it’s the first time in years CCRSB has been able to furnish a budget surplus.

“The additional funds realized this fiscal year have been reinvested in our structures, supports and staff to fuel student success,” she said.

The $2.2 million in additional funds comes as a result of the province’s funding profile increase of $1.6 million and $642,000 in cost savings from the reduction of 13 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching positions due to declining enrolment.

“This budget has allowed us to re-invest in our schools and buildings,” said vice-chairman Gordon Anderson, who represents Pictou East on the board. “Over $600,000 is being added to major maintenance for 2016-17. While we acknowledge that this is still not enough to ensure that proper preventative maintenance occurs for the long-term, we are grateful for the opportunity to re-invest any dollars into our infrastructure.”

To support teacher excellence, effective classroom instruction and to help more students realize success, Professional Learning Community time is being embedded for all classroom teachers in grades Primary to 6. This embedded time will allow elementary teachers to consistently gather  to review student work and respond to student needs in the most timely and effective ways.

The move is responding to CCRSB’s decision to split its Educational Services Department into the areas of programs and services and system development.

The governing board has also invested in two culturally responsive mentors and three special education specialists who will work directly with teachers in schools on a daily basis to improve programming and support improved teacher practices.

The board has added 43 FTE NSTU positions, in part to support the professional learning community time and to support smaller class sizes at elementary levels.

It received $9.6 million from the province for specific initiatives that include continuing the Grade Primary to 2 class cap of 20 students, a class cap of 25 students for grades 3 to 6, continuing student support grants for all schools, retaining more Reading Recovery teachers and more support for mathematics and early literacy.

The budget includes $29.6 million contributions from the municipalities in the region, based on a municipal tax rate of 30.48 cents per $100 of assessment.

Pictou County’s amounts include $4.65 million from the Municipality of Pictou County, $1.73 million from New Glasgow, $189,451 from Pictou, $807,276 from Stellarton, $341,446 from Trenton and $430,677 from Westville.

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