The Campbell River School District (SD72) approved its final budget for the current school year at this week’s public meeting, and there’s some good news: the district has seen a sudden and unexpected spike in enrolment, meaning more money from the provincial government is coming its way.
The board prepares a preliminary budget each May which estimates the costs, revenues and staffing needs that are expected for the upcoming school year.
“Typically, we are fairly close to where the actuals come in,” Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Patrick said in his report to the board this week in presenting the revised budget, “but we do have to make some adjustments for what we’re actually seeing in the classrooms.”
As actual costs become known as the year goes on – some hiring decisions are made later in the year, for example – they compile the information into their final budget submission, due by the end of February.
“So what do we know for this year? Well, the big impact – the big change – this year is that we actually had more students than we projected,” Patrick told the board. “We ended up with 112 students more than we projected, and in my time here, that’s never happened.”
An additional 112 students, Patrick said, is “significant,” mainly because it means an additional $1-million or so in revenue from the provincial government.
But that money, obviously, has to go towards the student needs across the district. After all, having more students enrolled, while garnering the district more money from the government, also means higher expenses.
But when combined with the additional $255,596 in administrative savings that the government returned to the district this year and some other expenditure savings – such as the closure of Oyster River and Discovery Passage Elementary schools – even after the additional expense that comes along with extra students, the district went from having a projected operating budget deficit of $881,524 to having an operating surplus of $653,707 for the current year.
After all was said and done, the board passed a final fiscal budget of $64,864,184 and will now immediately turn its attention to preparing the preliminary budget for 2017-18, which will involve “extensive consultation” with various stakeholders and partner groups, Patrick says.
Specific dates the public should be aware of during the consultation period are April 11, when the board will sit down with the district Parent Advisory Council, April 18, which is the deadline for public submissions regarding next year’s operating budget to be heard at the April 25 public board meeting.
The board could potentially pass the preliminary budget at their May 16 public meeting.