UCDSB budget cuts affecting vital services ‘simply not true’, chairman says

In this Tuesday June 7, 2016 screen grab from a YouTube video, UCDSB board chairman Jeff McMillan defends the deep cuts to the school board's budget for the upcoming year, which include cuts to teachers and EAs. (YouTube via Newswatch Group)

BROCKVILLE – The chairman of the Upper Canada District School Board has taken the unprecedented step of releasing a video message to “present the facts” surrounding its contentious 2016-17 budget.

In a nearly three minute YouTube video released today (June 7, 2016), Jeff McMillan defends the $5.5 million in cuts to the $345 million budget, which include ten teaching positions and cuts to educational assistant time.

The budget has an operating surplus of just over $913,000 for the school year.

“There have been some concerns expressed that, due to this budget, our students may not receive the vital services they are used to. That is simply not true,” McMillan states.

The board chairman says the $5.5 million in cuts were done through “thoughtful adjustments” across the entire organization.

The “adjustments” include 15 minutes to educational assistants (EAs) and McMillan says they “anticipate that this will be found outside of the formal instructional day.”

McMillan also seems to suggest the problems lie with provincial transfers. “Aligning our budget with the resources received from the minister of education is never easy,” he said.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 5678, representing front line education workers with the UCDSB, has blasted the budget calling the cuts to EAs and school supports “irresponsible.”