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School district passes balanced budget

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

School District 57 trustees passed a “good news” budget Tuesday.

The $165.7 million budget for the 2018/19 school year is balanced and will maintain the same level of service as the 2017/18 budget.

“We have provided additional resources in support of student learning,” said Sharel Warrington, board finance committee chair. “That’s a very important good news item.”

She added with provincial funding the district is in full compliance with the restored language with the teachers’ collective agreement.

She added that while Victoria has helped with some items, there are still others that are not covered such things as inflation, utility increases, and exempt staff salary increases. Secretary treasurer Allan Reed said the provincial changes to the Medical Services Premiums, which take effect next year, will have about a $400,000 impact on the school budget.

“It’s really important that we acknowledge and funding for these expenses needs to be sustained and support from within our existing budget,” said Warrington. “And that leaves some challenges. However, in spite of those unfunded expenses is a good news budget because it’s balanced, we’ve not had to appropriate surplus from previous years, other than an appropriation for one-time initiatives.”

The budget contains a $500,000 commitment for the board’s commitment to the replacement of Kelly Road Secondary School.

The anticipated enrolment for the 2018/19 school year is 13,176 full time equivalent students. That number will be recalculated in September and finalized in December.

The operating revenue for the year is $136.3 million while expenses will be $138.9 million. The difference is being covered by $5 million, which comes from last year’s surplus, added through the one-time initiatives. Salaries and expenses make up 83 per per cent of the operating budget.

The district is transferring $1.5 from its operating grant into it capital, which includes $1 million for technology purchases and the $500,000 Kelly Road replacement.

The budget also contains $800,000 for additional learning resources.

  • Support for the recruitment of Teachers Teaching on Call and casual support staff, and support for the sustainable deployment of these to and by schools through their budget allocations.
  • Four additional vice-principals.
  • Additional support for school in Mackenzie, McBride, and Valemount to travel to participate in curricular and extracurricular events.
  • Support for the the Student Support Services to complete student assessments and provide professional learning opportunities for education assistances, resource teachers and principals and vice-principals.
  • Support for teachers to province applied design, skills, technologies instruction to elementary school students at the John McInnis Centre industrial education classroom and through the Canfor Trades Trailer.
  • Support for two addition technical analysts to ensure continued support of technology used in student learning and in secure district-wide systems.
  • Support for a full-time fine arts instructor.
  • Support for a financial health analyst to manage financial risk and the board of education’s financial health policies related to budget development, reporting and monitoring, and accumulated operating surplus.
  • Support for three additional spare board custodians to ensure school safe and clean each day.
  • Support for supplies and training for the health and safety officer.

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