Inside this Issue: [toc] 2015-16 Grants for Student Needs Wally Easton, Policy Advisor – Finance On March 26, 2015 Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, announced the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program…

By Editor

Apr 1, 2015

Inside this Issue:


Photo courtesy of the Niagara Catholic District School Board.

Photo courtesy of the Niagara Catholic District School Board.

2015-16 Grants for Student Needs

Wally Easton, Policy Advisor – Finance

On March 26, 2015 Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, announced the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program for the coming fiscal year. While there have been several amendments to the grants for 2015-16 below are some of the more significant changes from OCSTA’s perspective.

Gabriel Sékaly, Assistant Deputy Minister, Business and Finance Division, presented the details of the 2014-15 grants. The GSN is projected to be $22.5 billion for 2014-15 which is almost the same amount as the previous year, despite the Ministry’s previous comments that boards could expect a decrease of 1% to 2%. Total provincial enrolment for 2015-16 is expected to decrease by about 3,000 students to 1,960,156 students. As 2014-15 was the last year for full implementation of the full day kindergarten program junior and senior kindergarten are now included in the enrolment and included in the calculations for the base school board grant allocations. The average per pupil funding is now $11,451 a slight increase from the previous year.

The key components of this recent announcement are summarized as follows:

School Board Efficiencies and Modernization (SBEM)

Introduced in 2015-16, the initiative is being expanded next year.

  • Elimination of the base top-up funding for school operations and renewal will be phased-in over next 3 years while a new enhanced top-up will be available for isolated or distant schools (ie. elementary schools at least 10 km. away from the next closest school and secondary schools at least 20 km. away from the next closest secondary school.). The savings over the 3 years will be reinvested in school operations and renewal grants.
  • The portion of the school foundation grant which funds principals and vice-principals will be modified to reduce funding for non-supported schools (ie. elementary schools at least 20 km. away from the next closest school and secondary schools at least 45 km. away from the next closest secondary school.) This reduction will also be phased-in over 3 years.
  • Changes to the Geographic Circumstances Grant to reflect updated geographic data will be phased-in over 3 years which could impact the grant allocation for small and rural schools.
  • The Declining Enrolment Grant will be changed to reduce the first year component from 100% to 50% and the second year component from 50% to 25%. The third year component will be eliminated. These changes are effective next year.

 School Foundation Grant

As previously mentioned the School Foundation Grant, which provides funding for school administration, has been modified to recognize three different types of schools: supported, distant, and regular.

  • Supported school is defined as an elementary school at least 20 km. from the next closest school in the board or a secondary/combined school at least 45 km. away from the next closest secondary/ combined school.
  • Distant school is defined as an elementary school at least 10 km. from the next closest school in the board or a secondary/combined school at least 20 km. away from the next closest secondary/ combined school.
  • Regular school is all other schools.

New model is intended to redirect funding from very small schools that are not isolated to larger, remote schools, or schools that serve both elementary and secondary students.

Geographic Circumstances Grant (3 year phase-in)

  • Changes will reflect more up-to-date geographic data, including more current road networks, population data, and urban centres with a population of at least 200,000.
  • Distance factor will now be measured from the board head office instead of the geographic centre of the board.
  • The Rural and Small Communities Allocation will be phased out.
  • Supported Schools Allocation will be modified to provide additional base funding for supported schools.

Capital Related Changes

  • In 2014-15 Ministry announced the $1.25 billion School Condition Improvement (SCI) initiative to assist boards with renewal and renovation projects. $250 million was allocated last year. $500 million will be allocated in 2015-16 and a further $500 million in 2016-17.
  • In 2015-16 the Ministry will conduct pilot School Consolidation Experience Studies to review the school closure and consolidation practises in boards.
  • An advisory group will be established to review the use of surplus school space for Community Hubs.

Labour and Collective Bargaining

  • As new collective agreements are finalized the government will make necessary changes to the GSN.
  • Effective for 2015-16 funding will be provided to school boards, through the administration and governance grant, to fund trustee associations in their role as employer bargaining agents for central negotiations.

Other Announcements

  • The transportation grant will be increased by 2% to provide for higher operator costs however the increase will be netted against the previous year’s transportation surplus, if any.
  • 2% increase in the non-staff portion of the School Operations Grant as well 7.3% increase in the electricity portion of the grant.
  • The changes to the Special Education Grant and the Board Administration and Governance Grant announced in 2014-15 will continue to be phased-in over a 4 year period beginning in 2014-15.


The Ministry will be introducing new measures of accountability regarding certain grants.

  • A portion of the Learning Opportunities Grant (LOG) will be enveloped to ensure these allocations are focused on students.
  • There will be enhanced reporting requirements for the Safe and Accepting Schools Allocation.
  • The Ministry will be reviewing expenses related to administration and governance to ensure compliance.

Other announcements, which are outside of the GSN, include:

  • The Ministry has provided $214.1 million for Education Program – Other (EPO) grants of which $153.4 million was announced March 26th  in Memorandum 2015:B8.
  • The Ministry introduced a revised Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline (PARG) which provides a modified process for less complex accommodation reviews. The modified process requires only one public meeting but the board’s policy must outline the rationale for using the modified process.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Wally Easton at 416-932-9460 or email:

Less than 4 weeks Away – OCSTA’s 85th AGM & Conference

Where: Sheraton Hotel and Conference Centre – 801 Dixon Rd., Toronto

When: April 30 – May 2, 2015

“Inspired by the Past; Focused on the Future”
This year OCSTA will be celebrating 85 years of service to Ontario’s Catholic District School Boards at the Association’s Annual General Meeting and Conference.

The 2015 conference theme – “Inspired by the Past; Focused on the Future” – speaks to the enormous community achievements that set in motion the establishment of Catholic education in Ontario almost 200 years ago, and the ongoing commitment of Catholic trustees to current and future students in publicly funded Catholic schools.

Keynote Presentations:

The “Francis Effect” and the Future of Catholic Education – presented by
Fr. Leonard Altilia, S.J., Veteran Educator, President, St. Paul’s High School


Address to the membership by The Hon. Liz Sandals, Minister of Education (Invited)


“Millenials, Technology, and the Human Component”, presented by Trends Expert, Max Valiquette


A  Sado_Colour-JPG 2014 headshot scaled down

“Innovative Education Partnerships”, presented by Anne Sado, President, George Brown College

Other Session Topics include:

  • Understanding Education Finance in Ontario
  • Bill 177 and the Role of the School Trustee
  • Aboriginal Education
  • Supporting Students and Families Living in Poverty
  • On Being a Catholic Student Leader (student trustee workshop)

Discounted “OCSTA” hotel room rate: $139 per night

Hotel reservations cut-off date: April 10, 2015. After the deadline, this special rate will be provided on a space available basis only.

Online Hotel Reservation
Hotel reservation telephone number: 1-866-932-7058

Preliminary Program

Online Conference Registration

For any questions about the program, please contact Sharon McMillan at OCSTA, ext. 232.

City of Toronto Celebrates Saint John Paul II Day, April 2, 2015

ARCHDIOCESE OF TORONTO – MEDIA ADVISORY – To commemorate Saint John Paul II Day on April 2, 2015, the City of Toronto will host a ceremony recognizing the late pontiff and raise the Vatican flag on the city’s courtesy flag pole in Nathan Phillips Square.  In addition, a student choir from Saint John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough will perform at the event, which will include remarks from the Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins.

April 2, was declared Saint John Paul II Day by the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada last year after legislation passed in both those chambers.

Saint John Paul II made history in 1978 when he became the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years.  He served as pontiff from 1978 until his death 10 years ago on April 2, 2005, making 104 international pilgrimages, including three to Canada, most recently for World Youth Day in 2002.  He was officially canonized by Pope Francis, joining the communion of saints in April 2014.

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
choir from Saint John Paul II Catholic Secondary School, Scarborough
Representatives from the City of Toronto

Thursday, April 2, 2015 – 1 p.m. – ceremony is expected to last 30 minutes

Courtesy Flag Pole, Nathan Phillips Square (southeast corner), Toronto City Hall

Media Contact:  Neil MacCarthy, Director, Public Relations & Communications
(416) 934-3400 x 552,


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