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Lethbridge Public Schools Set Budget And Reduce Staff

LETHBRIDGE:   School District-51 passed it's 2011-2012 Budget at a public meeting this morning. Total revenue and expenses for the year equals $86.6-million.

Superintendent Barry Litun confirms about $733,00.00  in revenue is being drawn from the district's diminishing reserves.

The budget will mean the reduction of about 25-teaching positions and about 30-fewer support staff next year. Retirements account for some of the positions reduced. Litun noted the District would have been $5-million short, if it had maintained current staffing levels.

 A statement from the School District states:   "The provincial government did provide an increase to school jurisdictions of 4.54% on base grant funding, which is 65% of the District's total revenues. However, other grants, such as the severe disabilities grant, and plant operations and maintenance grant received a zero percent increase. This is the third year in a row these grants have not seen an increase. Funding to transport students to and from school also did not receive an increase. The Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) grant was reduced by 50% and the Stabilization grant was also reduced by 50% and will be eliminated in 2012-2013. Grant funding that provides for lower class sizes at grades 4 to 6 and funding for Enhanced English as a Second Language was eliminated. Without an anticipated student enrolment growth projected for 2011/12, there would have been no increase in total revenue from provincial grants as compared to the current year. Because of the projected student enrolment growth, total 2011/12 revenues from the province will increase by 0.5% at a time when District staffing costs (salaries & benefits) will increase by more than 5%".

Other items of note from the budget, include the fact that the District did underscore it's commitment to an improvement program for First Nation's and Metis  students, by increasing a lead teacher from half  to full time.

 Also, District school fees for grades one through five have been eliminated, saving families $41 per student per year, and school fees will not increase for grades six to 12. Kindergarten remains at no cost to families.  As well, there will be no lunch supervision fees charged for students who are not bussed to school. This will save families $200 to $300 a year per student.

In a closing comment during an interview with Country 95 News, Superintendent Litun noted, "The district feels that it has done the best it can with the revenues that were provided and we look forward to another successful year, next year".

Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 4/19/2014 10:22:21 AM
Source: Dori Modney -- Country 95 News
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