Saskatoon School Board to push ministry in favor of full day kindergarten
The Board of Education for Saskatoon Public Schools has dropped full day kindergarten with the passing of its biggest budget to date.
Ray Morrison, chair of the Saskatoon Board of Education said they are seeing unprecedented growth in the student population in Saskatoon so in order to meet those growing needs the full day kindergarten program had to be let go.
Currently, full day kindergarten is not a ministry funded program.
“We don’t get funded for those students for a year after they’ve been on our system so this fall, for example, were anticipation an enrollment increase of about 650 students and in the end we had to find a way to make sure we have adequate teaching staff and facilities for those kids to get a good education,” said Morrison.
He said the board will continue to work with the ministry to find a way to deal with the growth and possibly look at changing the funding distribution model. He suggested implementing a midyear adjustment to deal with significant growth in school divisions as well as monitoring what is working in other provinces.
The board is putting together information on what they’ve learned over the past seven years of running the program, said Morrison. He noted improvements, particularly in areas where students are at risk.
Going forward, Morrison said the school board will be monitoring kids going through the system who have and who haven’t experienced the full day program, evaluating discrepancies and bringing further data to the ministry.
He said the message the school board has been bringing to the government is that they are seeing unprecedented growth in the student population in Saskatoon, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades.
“At the same time were seeing significant increase in diversity in our population so, as I’ve said before, I’d much rather deal with the stresses of growth then being in a school division with declining enrollment, but there is no mechanism in the current funding distribution model to deal with that kind of growth,” said Morrison.
The 2012-13 budget passed Tuesday night with operating expenses of about $222.5 million.
The budget is adding 25 classroom positions and funding for three pre-kindergarten programs at Westmount, King George and Pleasant Hill Community School.
Cuts in the budget include the bus pass subsidy for secondary students.