|BACKGROUNDER EMSB ADOPTS A BALANCED BUDGET FOR 2002-2003|
MONTREAL, JUNE 26, 2002- For the 2002-2003 academic year and the first time since its inception in 1998, the Council of Commissioners of the English Montreal School Board has adopted a balanced budget of $183 million which excludes the cost of surplus staff in the amount of $662,000.
The EMSB’s accumulated deficit as at June 30, 2001 was $1.8 million after incorporating, per Ministry of Education directives, its schools’ and centres’ surpluses of $6.6 million. It is expected that the 2001-2002 results will add about $600,000 million to that deficit figure.
Spending estimates highlights for 2002-2003:
It must be emphasized that the EMSB faces many financial hurdles-both presently and in the future. The loss to other Montreal Island school boards in 1998 of rental properties (with no financial compensation) which generated in excess of $2 million in revenues for the Board has been particularly onerous to the EMSB in terms of reducing expenditures accordingly and in terms of sustaining legal costs to protect the Board’s right to equitable treatment. In addition, a number of Ministry grants are expected to be significantly reduced in the next year (2003-04) such as one covering transportation which may go down by $400,000 and an additional $400,000 the following year. This grant reduction is in addition to an existing mandatory Board contribution of over $840,000.
There has also been no announcement from the Ministry regarding the continuation of the five-year plan for the implementation of information technology in order to replace computer equipment and improve communication networks.
School boards have experienced significant financial reductions over the course of many years. These budgetary compressions have made it extremely difficult to meet the educational needs of students in elementary, secondary and adult education and have resulted in a significant reduction in human resources.
This has impacted negatively on workload and recruitment at a time when needs, as well as parent expectations, have increased. Funding to school boards is not adequate to provide services to support the increasing number of students with special needs, nor is it sufficient to accomplish the capital projects urgently needed to maintain school buildings in an acceptable condition.
Michael J. Cohen