Reserves used to cover deficit and avoid cuts to programs and services, but Board urges Province to fully fund all pandemic costs
At this evening’s meeting of the Toronto District School Board, Trustees approved the 2021-22 Operating Budget (page 51). To support the safe and effective return to school in September, the $3.49B budget includes additional investments in the following areas: staffing supports; mental health and special education; student transportation health and safety; school operations and ventilation; and, re-engaging students and reading assessment supports.
The TDSB’s 2021-22 deficit, which includes the Board’s pre-pandemic structural deficit and pandemic-related costs, is forecasted to be $59M. To avoid reducing programs and services for students during the pandemic, TDSB reserves will be used to cover these costs and balance next year’s budget.
While the Ministry of Education has announced supplemental funding to offset the use of reserves to support pandemic costs incurred by school boards, the TDSB is not eligible because its pandemic costs do not exceed 2% of the Board’s operating budget.
At tonight’s meeting, Trustees also approved a motion for continued advocacy to the Ministry of Education to fund the full cost of the pandemic and reimburse the TDSB for the use of its reserves. The motion also requests that the Ministry fully fund all costs necessary to implement the Board’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan to mitigate the long-term impacts on student learning, as well as the impacts on students’ mental health and well-being.
- Section 231 of the Education Act requires school boards to pass a balanced operating budget each year.
- At the Board meeting on April 21, 2021, Trustees approved the 2021-22 Strategic Budget Drivers that helped guide the budget development process.
- Staffing costs, learning materials and classroom equipment make up 76% of the TDSB’s projected expenses for the 2021-22 school year. Approximately 10% of the projected expenses relate to school operations, including caretaking, utilities, and school site maintenance costs. Please see the 2021-22 Operating Budget (page 51) Board report for more information.
“After the challenging and uncertain year we have all just experienced, the TDSB is looking forward to a more normal 2021-22 school year. The budget passed this evening prioritizes a safe return to school and ensures that the right supports will be in place for students and staff when they come back to school in September.”
- Karen Falconer, Interim Director of Education, TDSB
“In developing next year’s budget, we knew that our focus needed to be on supporting student learning and prioritizing student and staff mental health and well-being coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, to avoid cutting any programs and services during this challenging time, we will be using reserves to balance the budget, but we have strongly advocated to the Ministry of Education to fully fund all pandemic costs for our students and staff.”
- Alexander Brown, Chair, TDSB