For the first time in a long time, there was an upswing in the Kootenay Columbia School District budget for added resources.
The district had an extra $207,000 to invest in things like a $3 bump in pay to $17 per-hour for crossing guards and noon-hour supervisors. Besides supporting existing workers, the money will cover an additional Inclusion Support teacher, another EA (educational assistant) mentor position, an increase to the teacher learning support budget, direct $5,000 toward an info-tech help desk, and bolster the JL Crowe band program with $15,000.
“The greatest part of the budget was finding ourselves in a position to improve our ‘status quo’ budget as originally planned with additional supports to students,” Teri Ferworn, board chair, told the Trail Times.
“I am very proud that we are finally able to begin to recognize the challenging work of noon-hour/crossing guard supervisors with an increase,” she said. “We appreciate the work they provide to keep our schools healthy.”
To support high school students with challenges including mental health concerns, Ferworn says the board supported “to move the cost of two child and youth care workers at the secondary schools.” As well, a child care worker position was added at Castlegar Primary.
The district’s $48,770,939 budget was adopted May 2.
As for the Capital Plan, staff is currently working on this task to present to the board’s Finance and Facilities Committee.
“They will be presenting the plan for our consideration at the June meeting,” said Ferworn.
Considerations that guide school budget development include: compliance with the School Act, collective agreements, and other regulatory requirements; recognition of the important role of instructional, administrative and operational support in advancing student learning; looking forward; transparency; and consultation with partners/stakeholders.
Superintendent Bill Ford noted in his budget summary that KCTU (teachers union), CUPE (employees other than teachers), and the District Parent’s Advisory Council had been consulted as well as the broader community.