Budget Recommendations for the 2022-23 school year
First: thank you to the over 1000 of you who took your time to share your thoughts and reactions in our budget consultation survey! We appreciated hearing where you felt the priorities laid out in our 5-year strategic plan continue to be relevant, and where you saw opportunity in new ideas.
That feedback – in collaboration with both months of work by our district staff, and feedback gathered through a series of consultation meetings between each of our stakeholder groups – has helped inform the Superintendent’s Recommendations to the Board of Education, which was presented last night (May 10, 2022).
In case you missed the meeting last night, we wanted to provide you with key highlights of the work that builds on our current teaching and learning supports for students and staff, as proposed in the Superintendent’s Recommendations for the 2022-23 school year budget:
- Stable learning conditions require stable staffing and coverage. That’s why we’re proposing spending over $1,200,000 to hire new teachers and educational assistants to support our enrollment growth, and we’re budgeting an additional $500,000 to ensure we have stable classroom coverage with priority TTOCs and priority EAs in place.
- Our youngest learners will be getting more help this year, as COVID precautions mean: 1) some kids may need a little extra support as they adjust to structured learning environments and increased socialization, and 2) fewer kids have had the support needed to establish the IEPs (Individual Education Plans) they may require. We’re budgeting for additional staff to support our kindergarten teachers and students, and adding staff to provide playground supervision.
- Mental health continues to be a top-of-mind issue for all. We’re looking to build on increased mental health supports, including additional staff to support schools, and further development of the resources available within the new Wellness Centre, to support staff, students, parents and the community.
- We are committed to continuing our journey toward reconciliation. Last year we added to the Indigenous Learning Team, utilizing one-time COVID related funding. We will be maintaining the new Indigenous Support Worker role within District’s budget to help us continue to better support Indigenous learners and their families, and we are targeting funds to support Indigenizing spaces to create learning environments that foster opportunities for all students.
- When technology provides students the best way to learn, we need the tools that work best for them. That’s why we’re proposing investing in purchasing iPads to support elementary students who may need them and laptops for those in middle and secondary schools, while we also update infrastructure and staff devices.
- We have heard that Climate Action is important to you. When equipment is in need of replacement, we’ll be looking to purchase more environmentally sustainable alternatives to some of the aging gas-powered equipment we’re currently using, and we’ll be investing in the development and implementation of new climate crisis related curriculum and lessons that can support increased learning options across all grades.
For those interested in more details, you can read the rest of the proposed recommendations here: https://newwestschools.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/220510-Operations-Agenda.pdf
The Board of Education has now passed both the first and second readings of the proposed budget allocations, which total to over $90 million in anticipated spending. They are set to have a final discussion within the upcoming May 24th, 2022 School Board Meeting, when they will vote on an approved final budget for the 2022-23 school year.
Thank you again for the time and thought you put into sharing your feedback with us.
- The New Westminster Schools Team