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School programs safe despite funding cuts

Despite $1 million in funding cuts for specialized programs, DDSB officials the programs will be continue and be self-funded.

By Dave Flaherty/ The Oshawa Express

Despite funding cuts of approximately $1 million, Durham school board officials state several specialized programs won’t be eliminated.

The cuts are part of an overall $25 million reduction to specialized programs from the Ministry of Education.

School boards were made aware of the cuts in December.

According to a media release, the Durham District School Board was anticipating the funding for four programs, including after-school tutoring, support for racialized and Indigenous students, and the annual black male empowerment conference, The Cypher.

Despite the cuts, the board deemed these programs of “high value” and will self-fund them.

“This is possible due largely to the caution, foresight and financial management of our board. Were it not for prudent and timely planning, the DDSB may very well have been in a position similar to that of many other school boards across the province facing programming and job cuts,” the media release stated.

Board trustee chair Michael Barrett voiced his displeasure with the cuts, noting the funding was counted on and essentially withdrawn half-way through the school year.

“It’s disappointing that the Ministry of Education is cutting initiatives part-way through the year. We are going to continue to self-fund established initiatives due to a number of our wise financial moves made in recent years,” Barrett said. “We appreciate the experience and budgeting expertise of staff that kept this cutback from being much more difficult to manage.”

Minister of Education Lisa Thompson said the programs targeted for cuts were “redundant,” and funding reductions were needed to remain fiscally responsible.

Barrett said the board will remain “very cautious” regarding what future funding changes may come by a government he says was “elected with a mandate to cut costs and reduce deficits.”