Hamilton public board ‘big winner’ in special-ed review

News Apr 30, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is crediting a long-sought increase in provincial funding for allowing it to spend nearly $1.5 million more on special education students in the coming school year.

Treasurer Stacey Zucker said changes to the way the Ministry of Education allocates money for high-needs students had already provided the board an extra $850,000 last year, a figure set to grow by another nearly $1.2 million this year.

She said prior to a ministry review, the board’s funding for special education fell below the provincial average, a situation trustees repeatedly protested as unfair.

Zucker said the ministry is phasing in changes to the high-needs funding over four years and she expects the board’s share to increase by another $1 million in each of the final two years.

Although numbers fluctuate from year to year, nearly one in five board students receives special education supports.

“We were a winner, and a big winner,” Zucker told members of the board’s finance and facilities committee during a presentation on a draft $69.5-million special-education budget for the 2015-16 school year.

“I think it’s a really good news story,” board chair Todd White agreed. “We benefit from the change, but if you read a lot of the Toronto-area media you would see that they’ve actually had a decrease,” he said.

“We’ve always been chronically underfunded based on what we’ve been expected to deliver.”

The special education budget — part of an overall proposed $542.7-million budget scheduled to go to the full board of trustees for approval in early June — funds 10 additional positions, including six more education assistants.

Committee chair Wes Hicks said trustees still need to find about $800,000 in savings to balance the overall budget and he’s confident they’ll do so without hurting classroom education.

They’ve already whittled down the bulk of an initial $5 million in required savings through a mix of job cuts from school closures, a two-per-cent reduction in non-contractual spending and a decrease to some daycare subsidies.

Hicks said senior staff will present some additional proposed savings to trustees in closed session.

“Things will be a little bit of staffing and then there’s a little bit on the side of how we deliver certain technology,” he said. “Other than that we’re really, really in good shape.”

Hamilton public board ‘big winner’ in special-ed review

Ministry grant jumps $1.2M as part of four-year hike

News Apr 30, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is crediting a long-sought increase in provincial funding for allowing it to spend nearly $1.5 million more on special education students in the coming school year.

Treasurer Stacey Zucker said changes to the way the Ministry of Education allocates money for high-needs students had already provided the board an extra $850,000 last year, a figure set to grow by another nearly $1.2 million this year.

She said prior to a ministry review, the board’s funding for special education fell below the provincial average, a situation trustees repeatedly protested as unfair.

Zucker said the ministry is phasing in changes to the high-needs funding over four years and she expects the board’s share to increase by another $1 million in each of the final two years.

“We’ve always been chronically underfunded based on what we’ve been expected to deliver.”

Although numbers fluctuate from year to year, nearly one in five board students receives special education supports.

“We were a winner, and a big winner,” Zucker told members of the board’s finance and facilities committee during a presentation on a draft $69.5-million special-education budget for the 2015-16 school year.

“I think it’s a really good news story,” board chair Todd White agreed. “We benefit from the change, but if you read a lot of the Toronto-area media you would see that they’ve actually had a decrease,” he said.

“We’ve always been chronically underfunded based on what we’ve been expected to deliver.”

The special education budget — part of an overall proposed $542.7-million budget scheduled to go to the full board of trustees for approval in early June — funds 10 additional positions, including six more education assistants.

Committee chair Wes Hicks said trustees still need to find about $800,000 in savings to balance the overall budget and he’s confident they’ll do so without hurting classroom education.

They’ve already whittled down the bulk of an initial $5 million in required savings through a mix of job cuts from school closures, a two-per-cent reduction in non-contractual spending and a decrease to some daycare subsidies.

Hicks said senior staff will present some additional proposed savings to trustees in closed session.

“Things will be a little bit of staffing and then there’s a little bit on the side of how we deliver certain technology,” he said. “Other than that we’re really, really in good shape.”

Hamilton public board ‘big winner’ in special-ed review

Ministry grant jumps $1.2M as part of four-year hike

News Apr 30, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is crediting a long-sought increase in provincial funding for allowing it to spend nearly $1.5 million more on special education students in the coming school year.

Treasurer Stacey Zucker said changes to the way the Ministry of Education allocates money for high-needs students had already provided the board an extra $850,000 last year, a figure set to grow by another nearly $1.2 million this year.

She said prior to a ministry review, the board’s funding for special education fell below the provincial average, a situation trustees repeatedly protested as unfair.

Zucker said the ministry is phasing in changes to the high-needs funding over four years and she expects the board’s share to increase by another $1 million in each of the final two years.

“We’ve always been chronically underfunded based on what we’ve been expected to deliver.”

Although numbers fluctuate from year to year, nearly one in five board students receives special education supports.

“We were a winner, and a big winner,” Zucker told members of the board’s finance and facilities committee during a presentation on a draft $69.5-million special-education budget for the 2015-16 school year.

“I think it’s a really good news story,” board chair Todd White agreed. “We benefit from the change, but if you read a lot of the Toronto-area media you would see that they’ve actually had a decrease,” he said.

“We’ve always been chronically underfunded based on what we’ve been expected to deliver.”

The special education budget — part of an overall proposed $542.7-million budget scheduled to go to the full board of trustees for approval in early June — funds 10 additional positions, including six more education assistants.

Committee chair Wes Hicks said trustees still need to find about $800,000 in savings to balance the overall budget and he’s confident they’ll do so without hurting classroom education.

They’ve already whittled down the bulk of an initial $5 million in required savings through a mix of job cuts from school closures, a two-per-cent reduction in non-contractual spending and a decrease to some daycare subsidies.

Hicks said senior staff will present some additional proposed savings to trustees in closed session.

“Things will be a little bit of staffing and then there’s a little bit on the side of how we deliver certain technology,” he said. “Other than that we’re really, really in good shape.”