SJASD approves budget for 2023-24 school year
The St. James-Assiniboia School Division approved its budget for the 2023-24 school year on March 7.
The division will work with a budget of just over $123.3 million, which equates to an increase of 4.42 per cent or just over $5 million from last year.
The average homeowner in the catchment area, meaning one who owns a house valued at $317,200, can expect to their taxes to be reduced by about $94 this year, after receiving the education property tax rebate.
Cheryl Smukowich, chair of the St. James-Assiniboia School Division board of trustees, said in an email that even though the division is receiving an increase in its budget, financial pressures mitigate the impact of that increase.
“In 2022, inflation was 7.8 per cent. It continues to be high in 2023, and this has contributed to budgetary challenges for the board, along with increased service costs, wage pressures, and the costs associated with maintaining our IT infrastructure and aging buildings,” she wrote.
The budget has allowed the division to retain all existing programming and its additional learning supports to help students in need.
Even with the increase, Smukowich said the division was forced to reduce “the equivalent of 12 teaching” full-time employees from its staff roster. However, that reduction is made up of retiring employees, and no permanent teachers lost their positions.
“While this was a tough decision to make, we feel this was the best avenue available to us to preserve unique divisional programming, while ensuring minimal impact to classroom size and front-line instruction,” Smukowich said.
Smukowich wanted division families to know a projected decrease in enrolment will allow the class sizes to remain similar to this year’s classes, and she said the division is focusing existing resources on maintaining learning supports in the classroom.
To view the full budget, visit www.sjasd.ca/governance/budget
Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 204-697-7206.