Olx Praca Catholic School division cuts teaching and support positions

Olx Praca Catholic School’s division is cutting teacher numbers and introducing a $70 per year lunch care fee to help recoup costs.

We wanted to just charge parents what we thought was reasonable… That’s why we’re very considerate of parents who may not be able to pay,” said Olx Praca Catholic School chapter chairman Vicki Bonnel.

The fee will go into effect in the fall: $70 for students in grades 1-8 and $35 for kindergarten students. Families will not pay more than $140.

We do this as a reimbursement. Every year we hire we have teachers who supervise the cafeteria and there are a few students who attend lunch and the school department has to pay these supervisors during lunch break. Due to our budget, we are looking to save money, and instead of investing in hiring this staff, we have considered charging canteen fees for looking after those students staying for lunch to offset the cost,” Bonnel said.

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The Catholic Schools Division said they received a one percent increase from the province, which is about $1.1 million, but is still $3.2 million short.

The School Board says it is currently laying off 7 online teachers, 2.5 teacher librarians to be replaced by an education support specialist, and 3.5 teachers due to declining enrollment.

“The ministry is adjusting the budget to reflect the fact that we now have 68 fewer students,” she said.

They are also laying off a mental health and wellness education consultant and saving on rent by moving the Freshman Admissions Center to Holy Rosary Community School.

In addition, the cost of minor repairs and subsidies will be reduced.

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The School Board will use $800,000 from the reserve to fund the one-time cost of upgrading WIFI in the classrooms.

It states that internal relocation cannot be found to fund the continuation of cultural ties with indigenous peoples following the loss of position funding from the pandemic contingency fund.

The school department said they were disappointed with the approved budget but felt their hands were tied.

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In this budget, we would prefer much more funds, because we would like to put more supports in the classrooms. However, we deal with what we have and do our best,” Bonnel said.

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