The Regina Catholic school division is reducing teacher positions and introducing a lunchtime supervision fee of $70 a year to recoup costs.
“We wanted to just charge the parents what we thought was reasonable … That’s why very considerate of parents who may not be able to pay,” said Regina Catholic School Division Chair Vicky Bonnel.
The fee will come into effect starting fall, $70 for Grade 1-8 and $35 for kindergarten students. Families will not pay more than $140.
“We’re doing it as a cost recovery. Every year we hire, we have teachers that supervise the lunchroom and there are a number of students that attend lunch and it is a cost to the school division to pay those supervisors during that lunch time. Because of our budget, we are looking for savings and instead of putting money towards hiring these staff, we were looking at charging a lunchroom fee for the supervision of those students who stay for lunch to offset the costs,” Bonnel said.
The Catholic school division said they received a one per cent increase from the province, which translates to around $1.1 million but is still falling short by $3.2 million dollars.
The school board says it is now cutting 7 online teachers, 2.5 teacher librarians replacing them with an education support professional and 3.5 teachers due to a decline in student enrolment.
“The ministry adjusts the budget to take into consideration that we are 68 students less now,” she said.
They are also letting go of a mental health and wellness learning consultant and saving on a lease by moving the Newcomer Welcome Centre to Holy Rosary Community School.
In addition there will be cuts to minor renovations and grants.
The school board will be using eight hundred thousand dollars from reserves to fund a one-time expense to upgrade WIFI in classrooms.
It said internal relocations could not be found to fund the continuation of Indigenous Cultural Liaison after losing funding for the position from the pandemic contingency fund.
The school division said it is disappointed with the approved budget, but feels its hands are tied.
“This budget, we would have preferred a lot more funds because we would like to put more supports in the classrooms. However, we are dealing with what we have and doing the best we can,” Bonnel said.
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