The Hanover School Division is providing more details regarding budget cuts for the upcoming school year. 

With the need to cut $2.7 million from the 2023-24 budget, the board of trustees considered various possibilities. 

Finance chair Danielle Funk says these were very tough conversations to have. 

In the end, the board approved a financial plan that includes reducing the teaching pool by 10.5 full-time positions. 

She explains how this will be possible. 

“There will be no layoffs but there may be some attrition with retirement, not renewing terms, and a few transfers to make it work out through our schools,” Funk says. 

This is expected to have an impact on class sizes for next year. 

Hanover is anticipating a bigger student population this fall and Funk says they need more teachers, not less. 

By following the provincial mandate regarding restrictions on collecting education taxes locally, Funk says Hanover had no choice but to lower the mill rate. 

In addition to the reduction of current teaching positions, the school division will not add the equivalent of 15 full-time teachers needed to accommodate additional 279 students who are expected for the 2023-24 school year.  

Normally, the division would budget teaching positions for projected enrollment. 

Funk notes, every classroom will still have a teacher, but they will have to shift a few things around to make that happen. 

“Our admin has a ton of work, and they do an amazing job, all the time, to make sure that all our schools have everything we can give them,” she says. “I can't say they have what they need because we're definitely in need of more, but everything we can give.” 

The board is also reducing expenditures in transportation by $314,600 (bus replacements), school maintenance by $292,000 (projects) and IT infrastructure by $100,000. 

Funk says it is also painful to be cutting the summer reading program which helps to bring students up to the required reading level for the next school year. 

And Grade 2 students will not have swimming lessons in 2023-24.  

“In a place where we have 100,000 lakes and rivers, we want to make sure all our students have at least some sort of water safety skills and we can no longer provide it for them,” she says. 

Funk notes the school board will be meeting with Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen to discuss the financial strain on Hanover’s budget.