“The need to identify savings in a budget for Provincially negotiated wage increases is a significant challenge in our current circumstances,” -- School District Board Chair Tina Last, speaking at the October 8th session of School District 52
School District 52 has a few financial issues to sort out as they head towards further discussion and review of their 2014-15 budget requirements. The main focus point seemingly destined to be a need to identify reductions of expenses by 1.4 million dollars, or 6 per cent in order to balance next year's budget.
At their October 8th Board Meeting, the litany of financial concerns was put forward for Board Trustees to review, a listing of financial items that included, the lack of any remaining surplus, a reduction in funding protection and the unfunded increase to support staff wages stemming from the recent labour settlement.
Increasing costs in the way of BC Hydro rate changes and pension plan increases, are two other items of note that the Board will have to consider as they lay out the financial map towards a balanced budget.
Board Chair Tina Last took on the issue of the recent provincially negotiated wage increases for support staff, outlining that she has written a letter to Peter Fassbender, the Minister of Education on behalf of the Board asking the Ministry of Education to fund these wage increases.
We touched on that concern in September over the wage settlement with this review of School District developments.
And while it's always nice to keep in touch, the Board Chair might find that her correspondence doesn't gain much traction with Minister Fassbender.
He recently outlined for Black Press, that School Districts across the province should not have been caught by surprise over the impact of the labour settlement to their financial planning.
He further suggested in his conversation with the media, that more than a few of the School Boards across the province perhaps hadn't thought out all of the potential scenarios that the May election could have delivered (i.e. a return to office of a BC Liberal Government), when they were looking over their financial plans.
While School District 52 awaits further guidance from the Minister, the issue of balancing the budget for 2014-15 continues on, with the School District set to review their options early in the new year.
Board Staff has been tasked to evaluate all possible areas of savings in order to minimize any impact that any required reductions may have on employees.
You can review the talking points from the October 8th School Board meeting from this Media Release from the School District.
As always, more items of interest on SD52 developments can be found on our archive page.