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School division passes 2013-14 budget

LRSD board approves tax hike, increase of staff in classroom

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Louis Riel School Division trustees have passed the division’s budget for the 2013-14 school year, which reflects a decrease in class sizes, an increase in classroom staff, a reduction of divisional administrative positions and emphasis on language and literacy supports.


The budget for the 2013-14 school year is almost $156-million, which represents a proposed expenditure of just over $4-million — or a 2.7% increase in spending — compared to last year’s budget.


In terms of revenue, the Minister of Education announced a 2.3% overall increase in funding for the province. LRSD was one of 16 divisions that did not receive any increase.


"We are dedicated to maintaining the quality of our public education system, while minimizing the impact on local property taxes," said LRSD board chair, Hugh Coburn, in a news release.


This year’s budget includes a tax increase of 3.78%. This means the average homeowner in the division will pay $57 a year on a home valued at $267,778.


Officials say the budget supports implementing the province’s class size initiative (20K3) for Kindergarten and Grade 1 and the beginning of reduction in class sizes from Grades 2 to 8.


According to the draft budget, in terms of full-time equivalent positions, there are reductions of two senior executive positions, 7.25 co-ordinators and 4.5 board office staff positions.


In turn, the document highlights the addition of 8 classroom teachers in Grades 4 to 8, two English as an additional language teachers and 1.5 literacy support teachers, which are all full-time equivalent positions.


Officials say the shifts in staffing will help reduce the average class size from 19.5 to 18.5 students through Kindergarten to Grade 12.


"Our students are the community’s greatest asset and we are committed to providing them a rich learning environment supported by a fiscally responsible budget," said Duane Brothers, LRSD’s superintendent of schools.


The division has 40 schools, 14,301 current students, a 29% French immersion rate and 1,827 employees.


To learn more about the division, visit www.lrsd.net.

simon.fuller@canstarnews.com

Facebook.com/TheLanceWPG
Twitter: @lanceWPG

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