After passing a motion to hold all three readings of the annual budget bylaw for 2020-2021 at the May 26 public meeting the Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the preliminary operating budget.
The budget is based on an estimated student enrolment of 5,640 students in September 2020 and forecasts total revenues of $71 million and total costs of $72.4 million for an operating deficit of $838,000 and a capital/special purpose fund deficit of $520,837.
As part of the budget development process, the board had indicated a willingness to draw up to $840,000 from the
district’s unrestricted reserves to deliver a balanced budget if necessary. Historically, the board has been willing to support a draw of up to one-third of the district’s unrestricted reserves and after the 2020-2021 draw the district will still retain a balance of $1.7 million for future use.
The 2020-2021 preliminary operating budget includes the following additions in direct support of priorities within the
district’s strategic plan: 4.0 FTE literacy teacher coordinators, 1.0 FTE technology teacher coordinator, 1.0 FTE wellness teacher coordinator, 0.6 FTE student opportunities teacher coordinator, and 0.5 FTE teacher coordinators to support District French Immersion and teacher mentorship; increasing approximately 25 elementary education assistant positions to 26.25 hours/week; a 0.43 FTE increase to the district communications officer position; $30,000 for IT equipment evergreening; and $36,000 for transferring HR secretarial positions to exempt positions.
In previous years, the district had addressed some operational expenses using surplus. This year’s budget recommended that $175,000 for learning resources appropriation now be included into ongoing operational
expenses to allow for its continuation. Prior to approval, the board expressed that they were extremely pleased that the budget for 2020-2021 is directly connected and driven by the priorities of the district’s strategic plan.