The Ottawa Catholic School Board.
Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia
The Ottawa Catholic School Board’s budget will increase by 1.9 per cent next year as enrolment continues to climb.The board has been cushioned from the difficulties facing some other boards across Ontario that are cutting budgets, laying off staff and declaring teachers surplus.The provincial government has cut some program funding given to school boards, and increased class sizes in Grades 4 to 12.But increasing enrolment at the Catholic board will bring in extra provincial revenue that will lessen the impact, said spokesperson Mardi de Kemp.The Catholic board does not expect to lay off teachers or declare any of them surplus, she said.The proposed budget, including operating expenses of $558.8 million, will be debated by trustees Tuesday.It’s not clear from the agenda for the meeting what areas of board operations might face either increases or reductions next year. There is a summary of expenses and revenue for 2019-20, but no information about previous years, precluding quick comparisons.More details were provided to trustees “under separate cover,” including a budget overview and several reports, according to the agenda. Those documents are not posted on the board website. There will be a presentation of information and a discussion at the meeting, according to the agenda.The full budget will be posted online later this week after trustees approve it, said De Kemp.The Citizen asked for an explanation of the board’s decision to post detailed budget information after trustees vote on it rather than before.De Kemp said various groups gave their comments on “priorities for the budget process” at a public input meeting in March.There were also several public board meetings after that to review sections of the draft budget, she said.One of the biggest changes school boards face is an increase in secondary class sizes from 22 to 28, which will mean the reduction of teaching positions across the province over the next four years.De Kemp said class sizes in the board’s secondary schools next year will increase to an average of 23.5 firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @JacquieAMiller ALSO IN THE NEWS:Three displaced after apartment fire near ChinatownFormer Catholic priest Barry McGrory found guilty of historic sex assaultsWould-be bone marrow donors line up to get swabbed to help Ottawa girl — and thousands more