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DDSB facing deficit in upcoming school year

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

The Durham District School Board is facing a deficit in its approved 2019-2020 budget.

As previously reported by The Oshawa Express, DDSB hasn’t been hit as hard by provincial cuts as other school boards around Ontario.

However, with total revenue of $849,178,256 and total expenses of $851,553,406, the board is predicting a deficit of approximately $2.4 million.

When last year’s budget was approved, the board expected a surplus of around $6 million.

Innovation priorities such as funding for a mental health and well-being plan have been cut, resulting in a total $5.2 million being removed from this year’s budget.

DDSB also saw an $8.5 million reduction in funding for staff.

These cuts resulted in the board losing funding for 38 elementary teachers, 23 educational assistants, and 16 early childhood educators among other positions.

The changes are credited to funded class size changes, enrolment, central staffing and the discontinuation of the local priorities fund.

The average class size from Grades 4 to 8 have increased from 23.84 students to 24.5 students, and secondary school class sizes have increased from 22 to 28.

There are a number of school improvement projects in Oshawa schools within the approved budget.

This includes $1 million for the replacement of a heating system at Durham Alternative Secondary School and a $1.2 million roof replacement at Dr. C.F. Cannon Public School.

Elsie MacGill Public School, located at 800 Greenhill Avenue, is the newest building set to open in Oshawa this September.

It is named for the “Queen of the Hurricanes,” who is widely regarded as the first woman in the world to earn an aeronautical engineering degree.