The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has approved an $856.0 million budget for school year 2015-2016.
The 2015-2016 budget represents the first year of a three year plan to more closely align spending with Ministry of Education funding levels. The largest component of the budget is $630 million, allocated to instruction, followed by $90.5 million to school facilities, $36.7 million to transportation, $19.7 million to central administration, $9.7 million to continuing education and $69.4 million to capital financing and other as well as the use of $11.9 million in reserves to balance the budget. Seventy-three percent of the total annual budget is invested in instructional costs.
The Ministry of Education funding formula has changed significantly and in light of those changes the budget plan contains savings across the spectrum, from reductions in operating budgets in all departments, to reductions in spending on professional development and staffing. The reductions in staffing will have an impact on the system but every effort will be made to minimize the direct impact on the classroom.
The District remains steadfastly focused on the need to maintain the progress that has been made in student achievement and well-being. Budget Chair Shawn Menard said, “In developing the budget, operations were reviewed and carefully measured initiatives against the District’s current strategic plan. We believe that this budget shows our continued commitment to the current strategic objectives which are designed to enhance student achievement and student well-being. The District is in the process of developing a new strategic plan that will maintain the progress that has been made in serving our students.”
Trustees and staff recognize that there will need to be additional changes to the way services are delivered in the next two to three years to ensure that the OCDSB can effectively operate within the Ministry’s funding. Achieving the next layer of savings will require a collaborative problem solving approach that will include Trustees, staff and all our community partners.
Director of Education Jennifer Adams said, “Every budget brings new challenges and opportunities. It is our responsibility as staff to develop a strategic, forward-thinking student-focused financial document that will allow us as a District to provide the finest quality of education for all of our students.”
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board provides quality education to nearly 73,000 full and part-time students from junior kindergarten to grade 12; including adult learners enrolled at our Adult High School and Continuing Education programs. The Board currently operates 116 elementary and 26 secondary schools, as well as a number of specialized education centres and programs.