2023-2024 Budget Survey Results

Limestone Learning Foundation
2023-2024 Budget Survey Results
Posted on 06/09/2023
2023-24 Budget Survey ResultsLDSB 2023-2024 Budget Survey Receives Almost Double the Response from Last Year 

Board responds to requests for more EAs and ECEs, smaller class sizes, more mental health supports and spending on board office administration 


The Limestone District School Board (LDSB) 2023-2024 Budget Survey received almost double the number of responses over last year’s survey. 

A total of 1,150 responses were received from March 3-24, 2023, when the LDSB sought public feedback on the development of its budget process for the next school year through an online survey hosted on the ThoughtExchange platform.  

This survey was open to families, staff, community, and federation partners, and publicized through the LDSB website, social media, and emails from the Director.  

The results showed predominantly family members and caregivers of students in the system, as well as LDSB employees participated in the survey, and they placed Reading & Writing Skills, Mental Health and Well-being, and Mathematics as the top three categories; followed by Special Education and Art/Music/Drama. 

ThoughtExchange surveys not only offer participants space to share their thoughts but allow others to rank those thoughts as well. Through those rankings, themes emerged around the need for more Educational Assistants (EAs) and Early Childhood Educators (ECEs), smaller class sizes, more mental health supports, and less spending on board office administration. It is important to note that in each of these areas, the LDSB often exceeds provincial standards to support student needs.  

More Educational Assistants & Early Childhood Educators 

From the top 16 thoughts for the Board, the need for more Education Assistants (EAs) was ranked number one. To support this, in 2021/2022 the Board staffing for EAs and Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) was 20.7 staff per thousand students. The provincial average is 17.9 staff per thousand students. LDSB is staffing almost three EAs per thousand students more than the provincial average. LDSB spending is just over $1,050 per student on EAs and ECEs, almost $300 more per student than the provincial average of $754. It should also be noted that in 2022-2023 LDSB approved a budget to support a special education budget that exceeded enveloped provincial funding by $7.8 million. 

“We recognize that more could always be done to support students with special education needs, but we are spending significantly more than what we are funded for in this area, and comparisons with other boards show that we are providing more staff to meet these critical needs,” says Krishna Burra, Director of Education. 

Smaller class sizes 

The next top five of the 16 thoughts referenced more staff and class size ratio. Funding from the province is dependent upon our class size ratios. Within elementary, class sizes are trending at the provincial average of 25.4 students. Secondary class sizes are averaging 18.5 students, with the provincial average just over 20. While in theory we support smaller class sizes to support students and staff, funding is set by the province. 

Mental health supports 

The need for mental health support was also referenced in the top 16 thoughts. LDSB’s budget for 2022-23 was $1.323 million, all of which was spent focused in this area. 

Spending on board office administration 

Overspending at the board office was also mentioned. Board administration staffing levels have remained relatively constant even though enrolment has increased. The Ministry limits expenditures on board office administration and governance. The LDSB is not allowed to exceed the allocation annually and has been underspent in this area relative to provincial funding.  

“Centrally based educators are funded across the province to support classroom-based educators, and to support professional learning. This model of supporting classrooms and professional learning is particularly important when we are facing shortages of occasional educators on many days,” says Burra.  

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.