Staff at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board have prepared a list of options for trustees to debate at a budget committee meeting on Monday, so they can present their recommendations at the full board meeting on Tuesday. Among those options is cutting 88 full-time jobs.Yes, indeed, there are more ways to find $14 million in a budget that's likely around $400 million to $500 million than going for the jugular. But then, and the CBC Ottawa piece doesn't get into this, what has the board done in previous years? Are support staff levels at the same number they were years ago? Or have they too adjusted with teaching numbers as declining enrolment has taken hold?
Cathy Curry has been chair of the board for just over a week, but already she is facing a big challenge to keep her board out of the red.
"Yes, [it's] definitely a situation where there is angst and anxiety, but also a very positive opportunity for all the people at the budget table to give their views, and to explain things to others about how things work on the ground," Curry said Thursday.
But the head of the Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Teachers' Federation thinks there are better ways to achieve that than holding up the $14 million as a necessary cut to the budget.
I predict this will be a year when the one board that saw an actual reduction in 2009-10 for its grants for student needs (Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland Catholic District School Board) will have some company. The capital dollars and other one-time funds are pretty much done. Full-day kindergarten's first two years will come with little to no capital dollars, and the staffing in these early years of implementation should pretty much be a wash between the teachers who would have left due to declining enrolment and those needed for the ELP.