The Campbell River School District is facing a funding shortfall of more than a million dollars, Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Patrick told the School Board at a Jan. 14 meeting.
The deficit is coming from two main areas. The district is short $611,144 after it didn’t receive all the grants it had expected from the B.C. government. This is partly due to preliminary enrolment projections being off by 126 FTE units (full-time equivalency students) on top of an already planned deficit of $530,000 for the 2019/20 school year budget.
Patrick told the board in the fall that they’d missed the ball on the projected student count done in the spring. The predicted student enrolment for the academic year was 5,575. As of September 30, the actual number was 5,479.
“When we come in less than expected, as we have this year, we’re getting less money,” he said at the time, noting they’d have to wait on the grant figures from the province before being able to present a clearer financial picture.
In his Jan. 14 update, Patrick said that the shortfall from the enrolment projection is offset by increases from the B.C. Ministry of Education in alternate, special needs and the classroom enhancement fund.
“Now that we have this information, we can start building our budget for the 2019/20 year,” said Patrick. “It is likely that we’ll have to come to the board and ask the board to support a draw on the surplus of that decrease in funding.”
He said that it is a big change, but there would be more information available when the final budget is presented for board approval.
Trustee Daryl Hagen is thankful that the reserve funds are available and that “massive cuts” won’t be made.
“The reason why we do have our reserve funds is just exactly for this. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen with our budgets,” he said. “If we didn’t have the reserves, we’d really be struggling right now.”