Eastern Town­ships School Board Adopts A Bal­anced Bud­get In Spite Of Con­tin­ued Com­pres­sions

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Ma­gog

At its June 25th meet­ing, the Eastern Town­ships School Board’s (ETSB) Coun­cil of Com­mis­sion­ers adopted a bal­anced bud­get for the 2013-2014 school year to­talling just over $73 mil­lion. This is in spite of a com­pres­sion of more than $2.7 mil­lion that in­cludes re­cur­ring and new bud­get cuts. In­cluded in th­ese com­pres­sions is the ad­di­tional grad­ual elim­i­na­tion of equal­iza­tion grants an­nounced by the min­istère de l’Éd­u­ca­tion, du Loisir et

du Sport (MELS), which for the 2013-2014 school year to­tal close to $1.7 mil­lion. At the April Coun­cil of Com­mis­sion­ers’ meet­ing, the coun­cil adopted a res­o­lu­tion to elim­i­nate, over the next three years, the re­duc­tion ac­corded to tax­pay­ers to re­coup the com­pres­sion re­sult­ing from the loss of the equal­iza­tion grants. The uni­form tax­a­tion rate for 2013-2014 will go from 0.31954 to 0.27009 per $100 of eval­u­a­tion. The ETSB cov­ers a ter­ri­tory that in­cludes 175 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, there­fore al­though the uni­form rate has de­creased, some will see a re­duc­tion in their over­all tax bills, some no change and oth­ers an in­crease. “Due to the fact that the ETSB does not have an ac­cu­mu­lated sur­plus, we had to look at al­ter­na­tives to cover the com­pres­sions. Af­ter closely ex­am­in­ing all our op­tions, the coun­cil made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to re­coup some of the com­pres­sions through tax­a­tion. We are pre­sent­ing a bal­anced op­er­at­ing bud­get with­out re­duc­ing di­rect ser­vices to stu­dents. Not hav­ing an ac­cu­mu­lated sur­plus to use has obliged us to closely ex­am­ine our op­er­a­tions to en­sure the fu­ture of our school board. We have made great progress over the last few years in re­duc­ing our dropout rate and in­creas­ing our grad­u­a­tion and stu­dent suc­cess rates, to name a few, and want to con­tinue this fo­cus. We are very sen­si­tive to the im­pact on tax­pay­ers across our ter­ri­tory that the elim­i­na­tion of the re­duc­tion fac­tor will have. It is our hope that the com­mu­ni­ties we serve will un­der­stand that our hands are tied by the MELS de­ci­sion and we need their col­lab­o­ra­tion,” ex­pressed An­dré Tur­cotte, As­sis­tant Di­rec­tor Gen­eral and Di­rec­tor of Fi­nance. Since 2004-2005 the ETSB’s dropout rate has gone from 39.4 to 22.8, which is a de­crease of 42% over six years. The ETSB of­fers ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices to close to 6000 stu­dents, with 20 el­e­men­tary schools, three high schools, one al­ter­na­tive high school, two adult ed­u­ca­tion cen­tres, two vo­ca­tional train­ing cen­tres, a global learn­ing in­sti­tute with dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion and an in­ter­na­tional stu­dents pro­gram.

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