KEMPTVILLE – Eastern Ontario’s largest English-Catholic school board outside of Ottawa is projecting an enrolment increase for the next school year.
The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario is projecting that it will have nearly 200 new students for the 2021-22 school year. A majority of that increase will be secondary students moving into that school system from other boards. “We are projecting an enrolment increase of approximately 190 full-time equivelent [students] for 2021-22,” associate director Bonnie Norton explained to trustees at their May 18th regular meeting. Norton added that the board expects about 70 elementary students in that increase. Students in Ontario do not have to be of the Catholic faith to attend a publicly-funded Catholic secondary school.
She added that outside of the pandemic, the board would normally see an increase in junior and senior kindergarten enrolment the closer it is to the start of the school year.
The board is planning for in-person learning this fall, but will remain with the quadmester system at the secondary school level, at least for the first half of the school year. Increased financial supports from the province has meant that the COVID-19 pandemic has not negatively affected the overall budget of the CDSBEO.
Heading into the budget process for the 2021-22 school year, CDSBEO administration expects the board will have a surplus for the current school year.
Stay-at-Home orders, and use of unqualified staff filling in for teachers due to a shortage of supply teachers accounts for a 5.2 per cent reduction in spending on instruction so far this year. There is also an increase in the board’s list of unfilled teaching positions.
Manager of Finance Ashley Hutchinson told the board during her financial update that there were additional savings due to decreased travel, professional development costs, transportation savings, and snow removal.
“To date, the CDSBEO has received more than $13.4M in COVID-19 related funding, and we expect to spend approximately $13.6M,” she said. “Since our last report in February, the Board has received an additional $4.36M for Capital COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream funding.”
A draft budget for next school year was to be presented at a June 1 meeting. That meeting has been rescheduled to June 8.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader