Budget to help students develop 21st-century skills

The York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) has set aside funds in its new budget to create science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math (STREAM) centres of excellence in select schools to further help students develop 21st century skills.

The local board gave a $607-million operating budget for 2020-21 its stamp or approval at a special board meeting on July 29. The budget represents a $19.6-million or 3.3 per cent increase over last year’s budget.

The focus of the budget is to support and promote high academic achievement and well-being of YCDSB students in a faith-filled environment, the board says. The budget supports the YCDSB’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan and was informed by the Ministry of Education’s funding model and community/family/stakeholder engagement.

Other highlights includes an additional $175,500 to support the board’s Human Rights and Equity Office and the work of the Human Rights, Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Committee; five additional high school chaplains to promote Catholic faith and the mental health and well-being of students;  and increased school financial audits;. Departmental expenses have been cut by $800,000.

The budget also identifies potential financial “stressors” related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel/quarantine restrictions that could negatively affect international students studying in Canada, expenses related to the purchase of personal protective equipment, and increased cleaning and sanitizing costs.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased the 2020-2021 budget allows us to reinvest in initiatives that will improve student success and well-being and be fiscally prudent with the public money entrusted to our Board,” says Chair Maria Marchese. “This comprehensive budget will help guide us into another successful yet unique school year as we continue our mission to educate and inspire all students to reach their full potential in a safe and caring environment.”

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