Home Global Holy Rosary Community School advocate ‘not worried’ about potential budget cuts

Holy Rosary Community School advocate ‘not worried’ about potential budget cuts

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Holy Rosary Community School advocate ‘not worried’ about potential budget cuts

HTML3_ HTML459000] HTML3_ HTML5_ HTML3_ HTML3_ HTML459000] HTML5_ HTML3_ HTML459000] The advocates of Holy Rosary School believe that avoiding recent closures may be a benefit.

Cristina Ruiu, left, and her daughter Victoria Bateman stand in front of Holy Rosary School in Feb 2021, as the chair of the parent council, which is petitioning the school division to keep the school open.
Cristina Ruiu, left, and her daughter Victoria Bateman stand in front of Holy Rosary School in Feb 2021, as the chair of the parent council, which is petitioning the school division to keep the school open. Photo by BRANDON HARDER /Regina Leader-Post

After winning the battle to avoid closure just months ago, advocates for Holy Rosary Community School are still feeling confident that the school will safely navigate budget discussion this year.

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Holy Rosary was subject to a school board-initiated operations review. This reviewed examined whether the school could be kept open in light of low enrollment numbers.
In October 2020, at the onset of the review, a total of 96 students were enrolled.

In February 2021, the board extended the review to look deeper at the school’s options, but when the final decision circled around in December,

The school board voted in favor of Holy Rosary remaining open and with no operational modifications.

It was a huge sigh of relief for many, said advocate Cristina Ruiu, who served as the chair of the Holy Rosary Parent Council at the time of the review.

Having participated in the subcommittee tasked with finding a viable operation plan for Holy Rosary, Ruiu said she feels the whole process felt like it put the school in a good position moving forward.

“I’m not worried and hopefully I don’t have any reason to worry about Holy Rosary,” said Ruiu, now a current member of the parent council.

The subcommittee disbanded following the conclusion of the review, but Ruiu has kept a close eye on the future of the school all three of her children have attended.

Following the provincial government’s budget release in February, concerns were expressed that the minimal increase in the operations provision would not be enough to avoid shortfalls in division budgets this year.

Chinook School Division went as far as warning of potential staffing cuts,

advising that around 20 teaching positions may need to be eliminated, along with hour reductions to educational assistants.

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The Regina Catholic School Division, which has a board meeting on Monday, had no comment on current budget discussions when contacted last week, but for advocates, the hope is that Holy Rosary won’t be facing cuts or, worse, another closure review to address potential shortfalls.

From what information Ruiu has heard, that hope is well-founded.

“The review did its job right,” said Ruiu. “The board almost organically came to the conclusion that Holy Rosary was still a viable entity.”

“I walked away feeling really good and positive.”

A new group of trustees were elected between the review’s beginning and conclusion. Ruiu acknowledged that the introduction of the new board so closely with Holy Rosary could have had an opposite effect on school’s budget season. It placed it on the pedestal, not as a potential cutting board but on its own merit as an indispensable asset.

“It was actually a really good exercise,” said Ruiu. “I think they’re far better informed about the school than they would have been without the review.”

During the previous review process, an alternate operations plan was in the works, examining the possibility of bringing in external partners to share the building’s footprint.

Although never implemented, Ruiu said it’s unlikely the plan would be revived in the face of budgetary constraints, as it has already been ruled out once by board trustees.

Little has changed in terms of the community’s perception of Holy Rosary, said Ruiu.

Ruiu said that the school is still a strong pillar of the neighborhood, and close to the hearts of many families who live in Cathedral.

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The final decision to keep Holy Rosary open made the community feel its voice was heard, said Ruiu, and she feels there’s big value in that.

“This board, in this process, gave me faith in the system,” said Ruiu. “I’m very thankful they took the time to deep dive into looking at all the aspects.”

lkurz@postmedia.com

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