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Near North board balances budget without using reserves

The Near North District School Board has a balanced budget heading into the 2019-20 school year.

Board chair Jay Aspin says the budget was balanced without having to dip into any reserve funds.

Trustees managed to save money by cancelling unsustainable programs like the International Baccalaureate program and redistributing $127,000 from the salaries of vice principals into student programming.

Aspin says the board is also establishing a finance committee to look at the budget throughout the year.

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“These changes mark the start of a transition with the Near North board to ensure value for money,” Aspin said.

Aspin says the board is focusing on making the system student-centric to ensure students have quality education and sustainable programming.

Despite the balanced budget, Aspin admits challenges lie ahead.

The major hurdle is coping with ongoing declining enrolment.

Aspin says the board has lost so many students over the years, that it now receives $11-million less in annual funding from the Ministry of Education.

Aspin says with less money coming from the province the board has “to cut the cloth to fit the table” as he puts it.

Aspin also says sometime this summer the board is expecting the final report from the Ombudsman’s office to review the previous board’s decision to close Widdifield Secondary School.

Aspin says once the final report is released the board will respond and review the findings of the Ombudsman.


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