Public school board passes 2021-22 budget

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The Greater Essex County District School Board has approved its spending plan for the upcoming school year.

Trustees with the English public school board passed this week a budget of $566-million for the 2021-2022 academic year. The figure includes roughly $482-million for operations and just under $84-million for capital projects.

The budget includes funding for initiatives to support student well-being and academic success, such as an Equity Advisory position, investment in graduation coaches and re-engagement counsellors, and special education supports aligned with student needs.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent incidents involving Canada’s Indigenous peoples, the budget includes investments in Indigenous education, equity and diversity. Student mental health support will also be enhanced.

There will be an additional Skills to Enhance Personal Success (STEPS) classroom at Massey Secondary School and two Giving Attention to Individual Needs (GAINS) classrooms for General Brock Public School and Princess Elizabeth School.

Infrastructure improvements have been included in the budget, including mechanical ventilation, new ventilation in some schools, water-bottle filling stations, cooling centres, automatic doors, additional Wi-Fi capability, and upgraded childcare facilities with dedicated washrooms and entrances.

A budget deficit of $4,272,908 is reflected in the spending plan, which will be covered by the board’s current operating surplus.

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