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Literacy programs, school supplies, and staff getting cut in preliminary Campbell River school district budget

Public feedback on budget draft must be provided by 4 p.m. May 26

School District 72 staff have been facing a tough task since work began on a preliminary budget draft for the 2022/ 2023 school year.

A $2.1 million operating deficit had to be balanced.

On Tuesday, May 17, SD 72 Secretary Treasurer Kevin Patrick presented a draft of the new budget for the school board at a special meeting.

Patrick went through a budget worksheet line-by-line for board members, a video of which can be found on the district’s YouTube page.

Literacy programs, and school supplies took the biggest hit.

READ MORE: Campbell River school board may be faced with tough decisions for upcoming budget

Before explaining the proposed cuts, Patrick spent a little time recapping why the deficit is in place.

“We went over budget by $3.1 million,” he said. “Half of it was inflation, and half of it was COVID-related costs.”

In previous years, the district has been able to draw a portion of the operating deficit from surplus funds, an action the Ministry of Education encourages.

However, after the current year, SD72’s surplus has been considerably reduced.

“Our emergency contingency fund is almost gone,” Patrick said. “And we don’t have the surplus in place to cover unexpected costs.

Since the district can’t use the surplus to balance the budget, it needs to be more conservative on its cost estimates, as the board is legally required by the province to balance the budget.

Patrick noted staff did their best to keep the reductions as far away from the classroom as possible.

READ MORE: Campbell River school district budgeting an extra million for on-call teachers costs

It was suggested that the equivalent of almost three literacy roles be cut, and $100,000 in school supplies snipped as well.

A number of coordinator positions will no longer be offered under the proposal, and some librarian hours will be scaled down too.

The district’s education centre budget would be reduced under the proposal as well.

A few grants are being used to balance some costs.

A childcare grant for $150,000 will be used to cover a manager of operations salary, and a $270,000 transportation budget will be applied to the sheet too.

Public feedback can be sent to Natalie Crawshaw in the secretary-treasurer’s office at by 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 26.

The board will review feedback and possibly approve the budget at the May 31 public board meeting.

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