The Battle River School Division Board of Trustees met twice during the month of May, in order to review budget information, prioritize spending categories and approval a budget for the next school year.
Overall, the funding provided to the school division by Alberta Education for the 2021-2022 school year is not significantly different than what was received in the current year.
In addition to the funding calculation based on Alberta Education’s formula, school divisions are also being provided with ‘bridge funding’ that will help offset any funding reductions they have experienced. This is the second year that bridge funding is being provided and the school division does expect that to be eliminated in the future.
The bulk of the ‘bridge funding’ is being used to offset deficits in the Instruction budget. Some of the bridge funding will be specifically allocated in support of Inclusive Education programming, while the rest will go to the overall instruction and programming.
BRSD is very pleased that there has been a re-allocation of funding from Alberta Education to restore funding to support moderate and severe language needs of Early Learning and PUF students. This funding has been sorely missed in the current school year. The Technology department will continue to make use of a Technology Fee, which was implemented for the first time in the current school year, to help offset costs. The fee covers such things as enhanced internet bandwidth, wireless connectivity and licensing for the provision of multiple student resources.
There is no change to Transportation funding. Dollars for administration of the school division, which is capped by Alberta Education, also remain the same for the year ahead.
The Facilities budget has been reduced, and a portion of ‘bridge funding’ will be used to sustain this area.
Unlike September of 2020, the school division does not expect to receive any additional allocation of funds this fall to cover extra costs associated with COVID-19, such as the provision of additional cleaning staff and supplies. The school division has budgeted about $900,000 toward these costs but hopes the need for extra cleaning will be reduced and these funds can be made available for other purposes.
Based on spending in the current year, in which numerous activities have been curtailed somewhat by COVID restrictions, the school division anticipates finishing the year with a surplus.
New Modular for Sparling School
The School Division has been approved for a new modular classroom to be placed at Sparling School. This will replace an older modular that is being removed from service.
Education Plan finalized
BRSD’s Three Year Education Plan was finalized and submitted to Alberta Education at the end of May. You can find it on the BRSD website: https://www.brsd.ab.ca/download/348419
Cross Boundary Agreements
Battle River School Division has agreements in place with several neighbouring school divisions, outlining the parameters for how we serve students and families who wish to attend schools outside their designated attendance areas. The Board reaffirmed its commitment to adhering to these agreements.
Different Division Office location coming soon
As the BRSD Division Office has aged and required more repair in recent years, the school division has been evaluating options for the potential replacement of this building. In March, the BRSD Board submitted a request to Alberta Education for the use of reserves to purchase a different building, located on 38 Street in Camrose. On May 26 that approval was received. It is anticipated the purchase will be finalized in late June. A portion of the cost of the replacement building will be recouped by selling the current location.
Busy season for Human Resources
May and June are very busy in the Human Resources department, as staff finalize their plans for the future and Human Resources ensures all positions will be filled for next fall. There are numerous employment opportunities being posted on the BRSD website, as school staffing plans are being finalized. You can take a look at brsd.ab.ca/careers
Respect in the Workplace
All BRSD employees are taking a Respect in the Workplace course this spring, to help increase their awareness of the diverse nature of people and needs that are present in our schools and offices. One of the main tenents of the training is a reminder that it is not the intent of a person’s actions or words that matter, it is the impact of those actions or words on others. The goal is to increase understanding and build a focus on equity, while eliminating discrimination and racism.
The members of the BRSD Leadership Team are also taking a Mental Health First Aide training course in June, in order to learn more about recognizing and supporting the mental health needs of others.
The BRSD Wellness Team provides services and care to a number of students throughout the division. Here’s the link to a video celebrating all they do to support students: https://youtu.be/m1rR1mQGg9s
- Based on information provided at the May 10 and May 27, 2021 meetings