Natl. lunch program, school bus contracts to be slashed by a quarter

Natl. lunch program, school bus contracts to be slashed by a quarter

Scholarship to UB, BTVI will increase in upcoming fiscal period

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government’s budget allocations to the Department of Education in the upcoming fiscal year will see both the national lunch program and contract for school bus services reduced by a quarter, according to the 2020/2021 budget.

The government has allocated $201.1 million for the Department of Education in 2020/2021.

This represents a $10 million decrease in its budget over this fiscal year.

It received $211.1 million in 2019/2020.

In the department, salaries and wages for permanent, pensionable workers will increase by just under $5 million — from $145.5 million to $150.3 million.

The national lunch program, which assists students identified as in need or vulnerable, will also see a considerable decrease of over $1.8 million or just over 25 percent.

In 2019/2020, the lunch program received over $7 million.

It will receive $5.2 million in 2020/2021, and the following two fiscal periods.

In 2018, 2019, the lunch program received $3.7 million.

According to the budget, the government will cut a quarter of the allocation for school bus service contracts — from $9.2 million this fiscal period to $6.9 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

The government estimates it will increase the allocation in 2021/2022 to $7.3 million and $7.6 million in 2022/2023.

In 2018/2019, the government spent $6.2 million on school bus service contracts, according to the budget.

Similarly, the allocation for education supplies in the department will be decrease by over $1.7 million.

The government allocated $4.6 million for education supplies this fiscal period.

The allocation will be reduced to $2.9 million in the upcoming fiscal year — a more than 36 percent decrease.

However, the government plans to increase the budget for these items in the following fiscal year, 2021/2022, to $3.4 million.

In 2018/2019, the government spent $1.2 million on education supplies.

The allocation for contract workers will decrease by over $1.2 million — from $15.8 million to $14.4 million.

The line item “global provision – new appts – monthly employees” will also decrease from $1.3 million this fiscal period to zero in the upcoming fiscal year.

The allowances in the department will also be slashed.

Among them, housing allowance will decrease from $4.6 million to $3.3 million — an over $1.3 million cut.

The government has decreased its allocation for disturbance allowance, paid to teachers on transfer to outer islands, by over $1 million.

In 2019/2020, the government allocated $2.63 million to disturbance allowance.

The allocation has been pegged at $1.57 million for 2020/2021.

Coaching allowance and ‘other allowances’ will see their allocations cut in half.

The budget for tuition, training, in-service awards and subsistence in the Department of Education will also be slashed in half — from $113,050 to $54,300.

Security services contracts will also be reduced by over $600,000 — from $2.7 million in 2019/2020 to $2.1 million in 2020/2021.

The government will also reduce consultancy services to the ministry.

These services received a budget of $1.2 million in 2019/2020.

It will receive an allocation of just over $700,000 in 2020/2021.

The allocations for building and equipment maintenance, school grounds improvement and upkeep, and sewerage maintenance will each receive marginal increase in 2020/2021.

In 2018/2019, the government provided $5.6 million for school board expenses.

The line item has an allocation of $124,000 in 2020/2021, according to the budget.

Between July 2019 and March 2020, $30,000 was spent on school board expenses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education’s allocation will increase by just over $500,000 — from $110.9 million to $111.4 million.

The allocation for the upcoming fiscal period represents a 7.2 percent increase when compared to actual spending in 2018/2019 of $103.9 million.

Wages and salaries will decrease from $8.2 million in 2019/2020 to $7.4 million in 2020/2021.

An apparent new line item ‘communications – school management project’ will receive a budget allocation of $1.4 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

The budget for subsidies to the University of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute will remain the same in the upcoming fiscal year — $30.7 million and $6.1 million respectively.

Similarly, the allocation for the international scholarship program for 2019/2020 will be maintained at $14.1 million in 2020/2021.

The allocation for in 2018/2019, however, was $17.6 million.

Scholarships for UB will increase from $17 million to $18.5 million, and scholarships to BTVI will increase from $4.1 million to $4.6 million.

The budget for ‘contribution to University of the West Indies’ will decrease around $1.5 million — from $7.8 million in 2019/2020 to $6.4 million in 2020/2021.