The Saskatoon public school division is cutting full-day, every day kindergarten programs and drawing funds from reserves to balance a projected $2.8-million budget deficit.

The division’s board set its $222.5-million budget at its meeting Tuesday, with board chair Ray Morrison saying a tighter budget is partly the result of a rapidly growing division that is expecting enrolment to increase by 650 students for this fall.

The elimination of the full-day kindergarten program, which operates at 17 schools but is not funded by the provincial government, is expected to save the division $1.3 million.

The division also eliminated funding to subsidized bus passes for high school students. Student transportation will also be scaled back, with bussing available only to students who live at least 800 meters away from their school. The distance requirement does not apply to students in immersion programs.

Morrison said the budget line for school board trustees will be rolled back to 2010-2011 levels, and professional development expenses will be reduced across the division.

The division will add three pre-kindergarten programs for the 2012-13 school year and English as an additional language (EAL) programming will be enhanced.

The division plans to hire 25 more instructional staff for the coming year, while central office staff will be reduced by four positions.