The Rocky View School Board of Trustees recently met with school administrators to begin the process of establishing budget priorities for the 2019/2020 budget.  

The creation of budget priorities is mandated in the Fiscal Accountability section of the "Roles of the Board" and says the board must "approve budget assumptions/priorities and establish priorities at the outset of the budget process."

Board Chair Todd Brand says the board settled on four priorities which were virtually identical to the ones from last year.

"We want to make sure the budget emphasizes direct classroom instructions, so making sure money gets into our classrooms to meet the direct needs of students.  Second we want to make sure that there's still high priority given to inclusive education so that with these more diverse classrooms that we were talking about that we can make sure we're diverting funds into support for those classrooms.  Mental health supports was another one of our priorities and the final one was continued financial emphasis on both literacy and numeracy skills."

Brand then goes on to say that the board will likely "tweak" those priorities to align more closely with Rocky View's new Four Year Plan which is nearly ready to be implemented 

"Because the Four Year Plan is not yet complete, we decided not to try and focus on those objectives but to stay with ones that we've been focusing on for the last couple of years."

Support for mental health is one of the board priorities.  Brand believes in recent years the awareness of how much mental health issues affect both staff and students has become very apparent.  He says whether its a higher rate of mental health issues or simply that schools have become better able to recognize the issues and better understand them, schools know it's their responsibility to look after the whole student.

"Part of that is making sure we've got proper mental health supports in place," says Brand. "Mental health supports are seldom inexpensive and although we only have a limited amount of money that we would call discretionary, we want to make sure that some of that is diverted into supporting both students and staff when it comes to mental health issues, needs or treatment."

At their last board meeting, the trustees gave approval to the budget priorities.

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