Western School Division is projected to receive an additional 4.8 per cent from the Provincial Funding of Schools program in comparison to the current 2019/20 fiscal year, which works out to an increase of approximately $542,000.
A 7.8 per cent increase in student enrolment resulted in about half of the funding increase with the rest coming from an increase in equalization funding. Equalization funding assists school divisions with lower assessment per pupil, to help cover costs over and above the level of provincial funding.
School divisions are also capped at a 2 per cent increase in the special requirement. This amount is used to calculate the special levy and mill rate. This being a reassessment year, the mill rate will be decreasing to offset assessment increases.
“Much work remains to be done on the budget,” says Western School Division, per a release. “Continued high student enrolment growth rates result in staffing adjustments to accommodate the extra students. The block funding for students with exceptional needs has been frozen for the last four years. Western School Division is seeing a rapid increase in students with exceptional needs that are new to the division. Budgeting for supports needed for these students is challenging due to the freeze in this funding.”
A draft budget will be released at the upcoming public budget exhibition, set for Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Morden Collegiate gymnasium.