The Hanover School Division has been forced to pull a small amount of funding from the classroom this coming school year as a result of an unusually slim budget. 

Finance Chair Rick Peters says unique circumstances surrounding this year’s budget planning forced him and his board of trustees to make some challenging decisions. “It was a tight budget to work with, and something we haven’t been accustomed to,” he remarks.

As a result of a provincially mandated education property tax freeze, School Board Finance Chair Rick Peters says the division’s revenue does not equal the increased financial need caused by inflation and certain rising salaries.

“62 per cent of our funding comes from the province and 37 per cent from municipal taxes,” explains Peters, crunching the numbers. “Now our provincial funding is up 2.39 per cent and municipal taxes are down by 2.69 per cent. So the increase looks decent but you have to remember that there is a decrease on a good portion of our revenue. In essence, we do fall a bit short.”

More plainly, the province packaged the funding announcement as an increase for HSD when, in reality, prohibiting local taxation created a decrease in the total pool of money that was available.

This deficit has forced the board to cut infrastructure upgrades, furniture purchases and, most notably, about four educator positions. Peters says two learning coach positions and about two full-time teaching positions have been removed because the division did not have the money to keep them in place.

“In the past few years we’ve been able to take out of the maintenance department or cut administration positions, but this is about as close as we would want to get to the classroom,” he comments. “Anytime you touch the classroom it is a difficult decision to make.”

Under their approved budget plan, Peters says his division plans on spending $96,751,300 on local education in the 2021-2022 school year.

Budget summary infographic provided by the Hanover School Division