Battle River School Division is in the process of building its budget for the next school year.
At their meeting on April 22, the BRSD Board of Trustees reviewed the parameters and assumptions that are being used, based on funding guidelines provided by Alberta Education.
The overall budget is very similar to the previous year. Although there is some re-alignment of dollars, the total has not changed significantly.
For example, $600,000 is being re-allocated to support the earliest learners, through specialized learning supports , but the Division’s Operations grant (for facilities) has been reduced.
There are also some items, such as the $2.9 million that was received from the federal government this year to support the school division’s pandemic response and which covered the cost of at-home learning, as well as additional cleaning staff and supplies, that are not included in next year’s numbers.
During the month of April every school administration team had the opportunity to speak about their plans and needs for next year, in order to help determine staffing and other budgetary requirements.
The government continues to have a ‘bridge funding’ program in place that is intended to help offset any significant budgetary challenges for the coming year.
At the next meeting of the Board of Trustees on May 13, more specific budget information will be reviewed.
Following the decision to consolidate alternative education programs under one umbrella, including outreach, home education and online learning, the Board also allocated a new name. Moving forward this will be known as BRACE—Battle River Alternative Centre for Education.
International Students Staying for the Summer
The Board of Trustees approved a plan to support International Students who wish to remain in our school division over the summer. For more than a dozen of the students who have travelled to our school division to complete their high school education, potential travel and quarantine restrictions could make it challenging to return to their home countries over the summer. BRSD has agreed to provide some educational programming and extend these students’ homestay arrangements over the summer. The students will pay additional fees to cover the costs of this.
Chester Ronning School Will be Ready by Late Fall
The Board received confirmation that the replacement Chester Ronning School project, is on target for completion in October. Students and staff should be able to occupy the new building by November of 2021.
Battle River School Division will not be piloting any aspect of the new draft curriculum next school year, but is inviting feedback from teachers in order to provide Alberta Education with suggestions for revision.
The school division faced a challenging month, with four schools and several specific classrooms transitioned temporarily to remote learning due to high case numbers and staffing shortages. At the time of the Board meeting there were approximately 1550 students being served remotely.
The Board of Trustees was able to view a video created by the staff of Ryley School, which celebrates all the ways in which the school has adapted and changed this year, in order to transition from being a Grade 7 to 12 school to now serving students in Kindergarten to Grade 9.
The video is available on the school’s website and BRSD Facebook pages—check it out!