The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) has approved a budget of $649.5M for the 2023-2024 academic year. The balanced budget includes the use of $5.9 million from a planned drawdown from reserves that is within the 1% use permitted by the Ministry. The Board has healthy reserves of over $34 million for future use. The budget is designed to accommodate an expected enrolment of 47,639 students, which is 2.4% higher than the previous year, resulting in an additional 1,119 students. The budget includes 124.6 new full-time equivalent staffing positions, including 54 education assistants and two mental health workers.
This budget focuses on maintaining spending on our Strategic Commitments and Spiritual Theme while achieving savings through efficiency measures and cost reductions. Learn more about the full budget in the OCSB Board Meeting Agenda for June 13, 2023.
What Does That Look Like in Our Schools?
Commitment to Catholic Education Distinctiveness
The OCSB offers an education that embraces the universal values of all faiths with a foundation in Catholic principles. This budget outlines expenses unique to Catholic education’s mission and purpose, including dedicated personnel such as Chaplaincy Leaders, Religious Education and Family Life Programs staff, Faith Animators, and Board Chaplains.
Commitment to Indigenous Students and Community
The OCSB is dedicated to improving Indigenous students’ academic success and well-being. We strive to educate all students on Indigenous histories, cultures, perspectives, and contributions to achieve this goal. Our efforts include the implementation of the Board Action Plan (BAP) and Indigenous Education Framework (2022-2025), which were developed with input from our staff and community members who contribute to Indigenous Education with the OCSB, including:
- Indigenous Coordinator
- Indigenous Consultants
- Indigenous Family Support Workers
- Indigenous Education Community (IEC)
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity
This budget includes additional funds focused on the Board’s commitment to continuous improvement and living its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Framework (2021-2024), which provides a road map to identifying and eliminating discriminatory practices and barriers faced by diverse groups in their schools. We continue to invest in EDI support through the following:
- 1.0 FTE Superintendent of Leadership & Parent Engagement
- 1.0 FTE Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Support Officer
- 54.0 FTE Permanent Educational Assistants
- Budgets for student-centred initiatives for the Black Student Forum and GSA Day
- School resources to support new International students
- Language translation communication module to communicate in a family’s preferred language
Commitment to Mental Health and Wellness
Our schools have mental health professionals to support our Board’s Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy. This year’s budget includes funding for these professionals and resources to assist students and staff.
- Added 2.0 FTE Mental Health Workers (NEW 2023/24) to the Mental Health and Wellness Team
- Employee Assistance Program
- $100,000 Wellness Fund Initiative for school staff
- $85,600 Assessment Supports expanding our commitment to promote student learning (NEW 2023/24)
- Resources and professional development for mental health
- Personalized Learning Centre
Commitment to Skilled Trades
We have developed community partnerships between students and employers to provide valuable learning opportunities for skilled trades. The 2023-2024 budget will support students pursuing Technological Education in various fields.
- 1 FTE Consultant supporting Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and SHSM programs
- Creation of a $150,000 Technology Equipment Renewal Fund
OCSB Elite Skilled Trades Academy
St. Paul High School will introduce the OCSB Elite Skilled Trades Academy in September 2023. The program is designed for grades 11 and 12 students and will receive up to $200,000 in funding from the School Board. It will offer carpentry and masonry certifications and apprenticeship training for two years. This program is open to all students from across the Board.
Commitment to Reading Intervention
We have allocated funds for practical educator training in reading interventions for the upcoming academic year.
- $1.3M for education staff to support reading interventions, 12 (6 new staff and 6 continued), including 10 Dedicated Itinerant Reading Intervention teachers and 2 Learning Partners – Multilingual Language and a Literacy (NEW 2023/24)
- $100,000 Tutoring Support Services for Students (NEW 2023/24)
- $30,000 Additional Teacher Training in Tier 2 & 3 reading strategies (NEW 2023-24)
- $0.5M in early reading screening tools and licenses (new)
- 1.0 FTE Early Years Consultant
- Central budget resources to support early literacy
Commitment to Math, Destreaming and Transitions to High School
Our Board is dedicated to promoting successful math education strategies that support students in achieving and maintaining high math proficiency levels.
- $2.4M for education staff to support de-streaming and transition to High School, 22 additional teachers in Grades 7-10 (NEW 2023-24)
- 3.0 FTE Math Learning Partners
Commitment to Deep Learning through an Investment in Outdoor Learning Spaces with WiFi (Year 2 of 3)
Investments of $7.5 million over 3 school years are being made to establish Outdoor Learning Spaces equipped with WiFi. These spaces facilitate experiential learning, bolster mental well-being, and promote environmental protection while integrating indigenous culture and knowledge. They are open to everyone.
Commitment to Strategic Risk Management
Managing technology and human resources risks effectively is crucial to achieving the Board’s goals. The 2023/24 budget has allocated extra funding for these two key priorities.
- $910,000 Cyber security Firewall refresh to protect data and prioritize network security
- $100,000 Specialized consulting services to review and update Job Descriptions & Evaluations
By the Numbers – Total Operating and Capital Budget
The following schedule compares budgeted Operating and Capital expenditures with that of the previous year.
|(in $000s)||ApprovedBudget 2022-23||RecommendedBudget 2023-24||Change $||Change %|
|Operating Expenditures||$ (619,675)||$ (649,578)||$ (29,903)||4.8%|
|Funded from Current Year Revenues||615,308||643,685||28,377||4.6%|
|Funded from Accumulated Surplus||4,367||5,893||1,526||34.9%|
|Total Operating – Compliant||$ –||$ –||$ –|
|Capital Expenditures||$ (77,196)||$ (82,395)||$ 5,199||6.7%|
Operating Budget ($ 000s)
Ottawa Catholic School Board Chair – Mark Mullan
Trustee Mark Mullan said, “At the OCSB, we view the budget as more than just a bunch of numbers on a page. Rather, it’s a chance for us to connect with our community, including school leaders, students, teachers, and families. Of course, we have to work within certain constraints, like government funding and student enrollment, but we always focus on what’s best for our students and staff. Together, we’ve crafted a budget that reflects our Gospel values, like faith, hope, love, community, dignity, excellence, justice, and environmental stewardship. Whether directly or indirectly, the budget supports and embodies these important values.”
Ottawa Catholic School Board Director of Education – Thomas D’Amico
Thomas D’Amico, the Director of Education, said, “Our budget for 2023-2024 is focused on fulfilling the Board’s Strategic Commitment by providing innovative educational programs to prepare students for the future. Our programs will align with our Spiritual Theme and Strategic Commitments, emphasizing faith-based learning to promote a strong sense of community and well-being.” Despite the financial challenges caused by the pandemic, we remain committed to supporting our students and staff.