The Campbell River Board of Education unanimously approved a $72-million preliminary budget for the upcoming school year.
The preliminary operating budget was approved following three readings at the virtual school board meeting on May 26, 2020.
Included in the budget are some new additions, which support the board’s latest strategic plan. Among them are eight new teacher coordinator positions, an increase in elementary school educational assistant hours, an increase in the district’s communications officer’s hours, funds for IT equipment improvements and to transfer HR secretarial positions to exempt positions.
The budget is based on an estimated student enrolment of 5,640 students in September. It predicts a total revenue of $71-million with costs of $72.4-million. This leaves an operating deficit of $838,000 and a capital/special purpose fund deficit of $520,837.
The board had previously approved a draw of up to $840,000 from the district’s unrestricted reserves to balance the budget, if it was needed. After the draw for the 2020/21 budget, the district will still have $1.7-million for future use.
Before the budget’s approval, trustees noted how the budget was in line with the district’s new strategic plan.
“It’s really rewarding for me to see, probably for the first time, our budget is being driven by our plan rather than the reverse,” said Trustee John Kerr.
Trustee Daryl Hagen agreed, noting how important it was for different departments to work together on the plan.
“I’m hoping that even in the middle of the pandemic, that we’re going to moving towards outcomes that are going to be great for kids in the future,” he said.
Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Patrick thanked trustees for their support.
“In my time, this is a pretty bold step and we appreciate the board’s leadership in laying out a strategic plan that clearly has goals for us to get to,” he said. “We’ll give this a try and again, it’s a big step, quite different than what we’ve done, so we appreciate the support because there’s a bit of risk here.”
There’s just one board of education meeting left for the school year. It’s currently scheduled for June 16 and will likely be a virtual meeting.
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