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Good Spirit School Division board approves $80 million budget

With anticipated revenues and expenditures in excess of $80 million, the Good Spirit School Division board passed the 2015/2016 budget at its June 17 regular meeting.

With anticipated revenues and expenditures in excess of $80 million, the Good Spirit School Division board passed the 2015/2016 budget at its June 17 regular meeting.

“Our priority is to allocate resources to maintain current operations with a special focus on our motto of ‘Students Come First,’” said Lois Smandych, board chair. “We are beginning year four of our fi ve-year strategic plan and, with the introduction of the Education Sector Strategic Plan and our need to align goals within both frameworks, it is extremely important to ensure targeted investments
reflect these goals.”

“Transparency always plays a key role in discussions and included numerous meetings with both senior administration as well as board members before determining the finalized budget,” said Sherry Todosichuk, superintendent of business administration.

“Administration has taken the board directive that the budget include a defined focus on aligning resources so that areas such as staffing, supports for learning, and health and safety are targeted to ensure dollars meet identified needs.”

Highlights of the 2015/2016 budget include the following:

• Continued investment in literacy with expansion of resources available beyond the primary levels;

• Appointment of an additional superintendent of education to meet the needs of our growing student population with a special focus on student services supports to improve outcomes for all students;

• The revamping of the human resources department with the appointment of a superintendent of human resources as well as the addition of an executive assistant to ensure the division is achieving efficiencies and adherence in terms of operational procedures;

• The appointment of a distributed learning co-ordinator (former digital learning coach) to oversee the implementation of a new model of course delivery, as well as the creation of some new courses like financial literacy, to ensure a variety of learning opportunities for students throughout the division;

• The addition of a transportation assistant to work in the development of route maps, orientation and overseeing of bus driver needs and assist to ensure efficiencies in the very
busy transportation department;

• Preventative maintenance and renewal (PMR) funding allocated by the Ministry to address facilities needs;

• Continuation of the bus fleet renewal plan (purchase of 10 buses per year); and,

• The addition of vice-principals at Churchbridge Public and P.J. Gillen schools as a result of increased enrolments over the past few years.

“The Government of Saskatchewan’s Vision 2020 continues to play an important part in budgeting,” stated Dwayne Reeve, director of education. “With key targets as part of the Saskatchewan Growth Plan including reducing the difference in graduation rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students by 50 per cent by 2020 as well as leading the country in Grade 12 graduation rates by 2020, we need to make key investments now to make these goals a reality. We have seen tremendous work being done in these areas and more in our division and we need to ensure that funds are dedicated in important areas such as literacy and absence management to continue to see improved learning outcomes for our students.”