Education supplies among Richmond school cuts
About one-tenth of Richmond School District’s budget for school supplies will be chopped to save $400,000 and help balance the books. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
Eliminating 10% of funding for school supplies is among nearly $1.6 million in budget cuts at the Richmond School District to balance the next school year’s books.
Trustee Norm Goldstein said the eliminations were difficult, but necessary and pointed out the district also voted Tuesday to introduce new programs worth $380,000 for next year.
According to the school board’s staff report, the supplies cut would likely impact smaller schools the most, though there is a $20,000 slush fund to help mitigate the impact for those schools.
That means supplies like erasers, notebooks, pencils and paper — “all of those things,” Goldstein said.
“It sounds like a cut, that it’s bad, but cuts like this — not necessarily,” he said.
“It might be positive for the students, if they learn how to use less paper, less supplies and still do the same or more.”
Goldstein anticipates the most contentious issue would be the attrition-based elimination of 10 full-time education assistant positions.
He anticipates one of the new initiatives — a special task force on inclusive learning for next year — could help mitigate some of the impact of losing education assistants for special needs children.
“It’s no secret all school districts in the province are very unhappy with the level of (senior) government support, specifically the government funding,” Goldstein said.
“And so costs go up, inflation … and we do what we have to do.”
The budget reductions would have needed to be approximately $2.9 million, but Goldstein said $1.3 million is being transferred in from the district’s surplus to help next year’s operations expenses.