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Ottawa's public school board proposes $19 million in savings to balance 2023-24 budget

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. (Tyler Fleming / CTV News Ottawa) The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. (Tyler Fleming / CTV News Ottawa)

Ottawa's public school board is proposing $19 million in savings to balance its 2023-24 school year budget, including efficiencies in teacher salaries and a 10 per cent cut in school budgets through a reduction in paper usage and photocopying and an increasing shift to electronic learning materials.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board tabled its $1.1 billion draft operating and capital budgets for the upcoming school year Wednesday night. The Ministry of Education increased student-based funding by $33 million for the new school year.

Staff had warned the board was facing a $19 million budget shortfall due to the removal of COVID-19 funding, changes in provincial transfer payments, rising operating costs and increasing costs for replacing absent teachers.

To help balance the books, staff outlined potential savings, efficiencies and opportunities to find $19 million in savings.  The efficiencies include:

  • $7 million in salary-related cost savings for teachers. "This savings is generated through the difference in average salary costs for experienced employees at retirement and the lower average salary costs for new hires," the report says.
  • $2.3 million in savings through the reduction of 21 full-time equivalent positions
  • $1.2 million in savings by leveraging deferred funding opportunities in Special Equipment Amount allocation
  • $2.6 million in efficiencies by reducing computer and license purchases for the 2023-24 school year
  • $2 million in priorities and partnerships funding
  • $1.8 million in savings in departmental budgets
  • $1 million in savings in school budgets through a 10-11 per cent reduction in budgets for the 2023-24 school year. "This reduction can likely be realized through reductions in paper usage, photocopy, and the increasing shift to electronic learning resources/materials," the report says. "Recognizing that reductions may affect schools differently depending on the needs of students and staff. To that end, a review of how the redistribution will be implemented will take place over the summer months to ensure an equitable lens is used to enable all schools to meet the needs of students and staff."
  • $500,000 in facilities department savings, including overtime, cleaning services, mileage budget, clock maintenance and radio repairs
  • $400,000 in efficiencies through the Menstrual Equity Project budget

The 2023-24 school year budget has funding for 4,984 full-time equivalent staff positions in elementary and secondary schools.

The budget includes an additional $11.5 million to the occasional teacher budget. The new budget will be $31.5 million, "which better aligns with previous year expenditures," the report says.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's budget will increase rental costs for Community Use of Schools by 5 per cent for the 2023-24 school year. The board anticipates an additional $300,000 in revenues to help offset rising costs.

Ottawa's public school board's budget includes a $140.3 million capital budget.

Three OCDSB committee of the whole budget meetings will be held this month before the budget is approved: June 6, June 12 and June 19. Top Stories

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