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Catholic board budget allows for extra special ed. funding

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The Northwest Catholic District School Board has worked out its 2000/2001 budget, making a special provision for special education funding among other changes.

“Previously, if we had a student who developed special needs during the year, or had a new special ed. student transferring into the system, we never had anything in place for that,” Superintendent of Business Chris Howarth noted.

“But now, based on some discussions at the last board meeting, we’ve allocated money to accommodate such situations,” he added.

The exact amount was not broken down in the preliminary budget presented at last night’s regular board meeting. But that figure will be included in the complete budget breakdown slated to be unveiled at the board’s June 17 meeting in Sioux Lookout.

Balanced at $9,499,311, classroom teachers account for the bulk of projected expenditures in the board’s 2000/2001 budget at $4,397,475, followed by transportation ($913,859), and school operations ($878,367).

Next on the list are principals/vice-principals ($560,132), board administration ($503,948), textbooks/classroom supplies ($460,558), preparation time ($444,846), and teacher assistants ($417,645).

Rounding out expenditures are computers ($278,728), directors and support officers ($266,468), school secretaries ($247,866), professionals/para-professionals ($244,531), school renewal ($221,577), supply teachers ($160,000), library and guidance ($148,748), trustees ($82,709), and staff development ($23,391)

Howarth noted some highlights of the budget, without specific monetary figures attached, included:

•staffing levels at schools and board offices will remain the same, with the exception of an increase in vice-principal time at St. Francis, Sacred Heart, and St. Joseph schools;

•implementation of a new employee assistance program;

•upgrading the board office in Fort Frances by repainting and carpeting;

•school renewal projects, including roof repairs at St. Francis and Our Lady of the Way, as well as carpeting, flooring, and painting at several schools;

•amalgamation of pre-amalgamation board policies and facility inventories by utilizing external sources; and

•partial funding of contingent retirement costs.

No changes are likely to be made to the preliminary budget before it’s sent to the Ministry of Education next month.

In related news, the board received the auditor’s report for 1998, which was not completed until last month due to delays caused by the amalgamation of the previous board here with the Dryden District R.C.S.S. Board.

The board also approved a motion to transfer a surplus of $362,628 to the reserve for working funds.

In other business last night, the board:

•received a report of cash disbursements for April, 2000 totalling $978,063.80;

•approved revisions to policies C-01 and C-02 (trustee travel and professional development, and staff travel and development expenses), noting trustees and staff need not rent the cheapest vehicle when travelling if it compromises one’s safety;

•accepted the May 16 personnel report, which noted the transfers of Shelley Armit from part-time teacher at Our Lady of the Way to part-time teacher at St. Michael’s/ St. Francis, and Carla Peters and Melanie Fafard from full-time teachers at St. Francis to full-time teachers at St. Michael’s.

It also reported a change in status from part-time to full-time teacher for Sacred Heart School teacher Richard Hamilton, as well as the resignation of Kevin Soroka as the board’s manager of information systems.

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