Job cuts to help Hamilton's public school board balance books

News Apr 09, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Job cuts from school closures and falling enrolment are expected to generate about half of the $5 million in savings Hamilton public school board trustees will have to find to balance their budget for the coming year.

Board treasurer Stacey Zucker said June school closures will eliminate the need for four elementary principals and eight custodians, while a projected 236-student drop in high school enrolment this fall will cut 15.5 teaching positions.

The job losses will be partially offset by the addition of five elementary teachers to comply with provincial class-size requirements, along with six early childhood educators and three educational assistants, she told the board’s finance and facilities committee.

That reduces the total number of jobs cut to 13.5 positions.

The board is closing Eastmount Park, Linden Park, Cardinal Heights, Roxborough Park and Woodward elementary schools in June, as well as Parkside high school, currently serving as a campus for Dundas Valley Secondary School.

Zucker said “attrition” – retirements and voluntary departures – is expected to avoid the need for layoffs, although some teachers could potentially be put on a recall list for long-term occasional spots until a permanent position opens.

“I think it’s a good news story in a time of not good news with regards to enrolment,” she said.

A preliminary budget presented to the committee projects the board will receive $542.7 million in provincial grants for the coming school year, an increase of $3.4 million.

The biggest increase is for school repairs, with the board set to receive $6 million more than last year.

But Zucker said trustees will still need to find another $2.5 million in savings on top of the job cuts because some key grants are being reduced as part of the province’s push to encourage the shuttering of emptier schools.

The board will get $1.5 million less this year to help it adjust to declining enrolment, for instance, while a $5-million “top-up” grant to keep under-used schools open is being cut by $1 million as part of a three-year plan to phase it out, she said.

Zucker said salary costs account for about three-quarters of the budget and staff is looking at how to cut spending by two per cent in other areas without affecting student achievement.

West Mountain trustee Wes Hicks, chair of the committee, said the board is benefitting from past decisions, like the consolidation of all administrative staff at the new Education Centre, leaving it in comparatively good shape to finalize the budget by the end of May.

He said the $2.5 million in remaining savings are the fewest trustees have had to find in recent years.

“We feel confident we can do that without any serious cuts to programming at this time,” Hicks said “It really is a good news budget.”

Job cuts to help Hamilton's public school board balance books

News Apr 09, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Job cuts from school closures and falling enrolment are expected to generate about half of the $5 million in savings Hamilton public school board trustees will have to find to balance their budget for the coming year.

Board treasurer Stacey Zucker said June school closures will eliminate the need for four elementary principals and eight custodians, while a projected 236-student drop in high school enrolment this fall will cut 15.5 teaching positions.

The job losses will be partially offset by the addition of five elementary teachers to comply with provincial class-size requirements, along with six early childhood educators and three educational assistants, she told the board’s finance and facilities committee.

That reduces the total number of jobs cut to 13.5 positions.

"I think it’s a good news story in a time of not good news with regards to enrolment."

The board is closing Eastmount Park, Linden Park, Cardinal Heights, Roxborough Park and Woodward elementary schools in June, as well as Parkside high school, currently serving as a campus for Dundas Valley Secondary School.

Zucker said “attrition” – retirements and voluntary departures – is expected to avoid the need for layoffs, although some teachers could potentially be put on a recall list for long-term occasional spots until a permanent position opens.

“I think it’s a good news story in a time of not good news with regards to enrolment,” she said.

A preliminary budget presented to the committee projects the board will receive $542.7 million in provincial grants for the coming school year, an increase of $3.4 million.

The biggest increase is for school repairs, with the board set to receive $6 million more than last year.

But Zucker said trustees will still need to find another $2.5 million in savings on top of the job cuts because some key grants are being reduced as part of the province’s push to encourage the shuttering of emptier schools.

The board will get $1.5 million less this year to help it adjust to declining enrolment, for instance, while a $5-million “top-up” grant to keep under-used schools open is being cut by $1 million as part of a three-year plan to phase it out, she said.

Zucker said salary costs account for about three-quarters of the budget and staff is looking at how to cut spending by two per cent in other areas without affecting student achievement.

West Mountain trustee Wes Hicks, chair of the committee, said the board is benefitting from past decisions, like the consolidation of all administrative staff at the new Education Centre, leaving it in comparatively good shape to finalize the budget by the end of May.

He said the $2.5 million in remaining savings are the fewest trustees have had to find in recent years.

“We feel confident we can do that without any serious cuts to programming at this time,” Hicks said “It really is a good news budget.”

Job cuts to help Hamilton's public school board balance books

News Apr 09, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Job cuts from school closures and falling enrolment are expected to generate about half of the $5 million in savings Hamilton public school board trustees will have to find to balance their budget for the coming year.

Board treasurer Stacey Zucker said June school closures will eliminate the need for four elementary principals and eight custodians, while a projected 236-student drop in high school enrolment this fall will cut 15.5 teaching positions.

The job losses will be partially offset by the addition of five elementary teachers to comply with provincial class-size requirements, along with six early childhood educators and three educational assistants, she told the board’s finance and facilities committee.

That reduces the total number of jobs cut to 13.5 positions.

"I think it’s a good news story in a time of not good news with regards to enrolment."

The board is closing Eastmount Park, Linden Park, Cardinal Heights, Roxborough Park and Woodward elementary schools in June, as well as Parkside high school, currently serving as a campus for Dundas Valley Secondary School.

Zucker said “attrition” – retirements and voluntary departures – is expected to avoid the need for layoffs, although some teachers could potentially be put on a recall list for long-term occasional spots until a permanent position opens.

“I think it’s a good news story in a time of not good news with regards to enrolment,” she said.

A preliminary budget presented to the committee projects the board will receive $542.7 million in provincial grants for the coming school year, an increase of $3.4 million.

The biggest increase is for school repairs, with the board set to receive $6 million more than last year.

But Zucker said trustees will still need to find another $2.5 million in savings on top of the job cuts because some key grants are being reduced as part of the province’s push to encourage the shuttering of emptier schools.

The board will get $1.5 million less this year to help it adjust to declining enrolment, for instance, while a $5-million “top-up” grant to keep under-used schools open is being cut by $1 million as part of a three-year plan to phase it out, she said.

Zucker said salary costs account for about three-quarters of the budget and staff is looking at how to cut spending by two per cent in other areas without affecting student achievement.

West Mountain trustee Wes Hicks, chair of the committee, said the board is benefitting from past decisions, like the consolidation of all administrative staff at the new Education Centre, leaving it in comparatively good shape to finalize the budget by the end of May.

He said the $2.5 million in remaining savings are the fewest trustees have had to find in recent years.

“We feel confident we can do that without any serious cuts to programming at this time,” Hicks said “It really is a good news budget.”