Grants for Student Needs (GSNs)
On March 24, the Ministry of Education released its technical briefing on the 2016-17 Grants For Student Needs (GSN)
. Based on an initial analysis of the changes to next year’s GSNs, staff are pleased to report that the grant projections showing in the proposed budget plan for 2016-17 are fairly aligned to the grants announced today. A more detailed analysis will be done once the Ministry releases the electronic financial information system (EFIS) in two weeks, and staff will then update Trustees of the actual impact to the Board’s bottom line.
Based on our preliminary analysis of today’s announcement, it appears that the Ministry has fully funded the recently-negotiated labour settlements and has also provided an inflationary for utilities and transportation costs. We are also pleased to see that regulation 444/98 will be amended to recognize all property sales between boards must be at fair market value.
The TDSB participated in this year’s GSN consultation process by providing Feedback on Grants for Student Needs (GSN) 2016-2017 and the pre-budget consultations in January 2016. Both submissions
were also made publically available on the TDSB website.
Please note that the Board meeting on March 30, 2016 has been cancelled. Trustees will now vote on the 2016-17 Proposed Budget Plan
at the Board meeting scheduled for April 20, 2016. At the Board meeting on April 20, Trustees will be presented with an updated 2016-17 Proposed Budget Plan that incorporates the TDSB’s specific funding amounts for 2016-17.
FYI, the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA) issued the following statement - "We recognize that financial constraints are the result of the Ontario government addressing the provincial deficit," said OPSBA President Michael Barrett. "Within these constraints, today's funding reinforces a strong school environment and the growth of student success. While this is true, many of our member boards have already been absorbing reductions in other budget areas such as special education and this has had an impact on their flexibility."
OPSBA is supportive of the government's priority to create community hubs. The concept of sharing school space presents exciting possibilities, but involves considerations that go beyond whether space is being used efficiently. The need for coordination and incentive among various entities - provincial ministries, local municipalities, other school boards, and social service agencies - is but one of many challenges.
The inclusion of supplemental funding for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education is a welcome addition to the GSN, as is the commitment to move ahead on changes to the regulation regarding disposition of surplus school board real estate (Regulation 444/98).