Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TCDSB trustees meet over multi-million dollar deficit

Toronto Catholic District School Board learned Monday night just how bad their bookkeeping has been at a special meeting to discuss their multi-million dollar deficit.

An estimation error saw the board go from a $5 million dollar surplus to a $43 million shortfall in just four months.

“It wasn’t a one plus one equals three error, it was an estimate of how much we need to put out for benefits coming in,” education director Angela Gauthier explained.

Trustee Maria Rizzo said she feels ‘totally betrayed’ by the error.

“I trust our staff to do their job and I don’t feel they did their job in giving me the goods,” she said.

Documents obtained by CityNews on Saturday showed that not only is the TCDSB currently addressing a structural deficit of $16.9 million, but it also is facing reduced funding from the Ministry of Education of over $25 million.

The estimation error accounted for $10 million of the board’s current predicament.

Trustees met on Monday to discuss two possible plans which they hope will balance the budget in three years. The board finalize a financial plan by June or risk the province appointing a supervisor.

Every school board in Ontario is required to operate on an annual balanced budget and the board will be working with finance experts from the Ministry of Education to formulate a special three-year financial recovery plan.

In order to meet the June deadline, staffing levels have to change and fast.

The board’s biggest source of spending is staffing and redundancy notices must go out by the end of March and mid April for primary and secondary staff respectively.  (more...)

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