Thursday, February 2, 2017

SD52 offers up some background information on Budget issues and process

As School District 52 moves forward through its budget consultation period of February and March, District officials have started to roll out some further information on how the budget process works and how the public can contribute to it.

Last week we outlined the background to the launch of a survey from the School District which is designed to seek out comment from parents, students and other stakeholders to offer up their feedback when it comes to issues on education in the region.

Towards that survey and as a way to offer up more details on the budget process underway, the School District has now provided the presentation notes from the January 25th consultation session which was held at Charles Hays Secondary.

Leading off their review is a look at the Goals of the Budget process for 2017 with a dedication towards delivering results and features eleven pages of direction as to how they hope to achieve those ambitious benchmarks.

The final page of the eleven available for review provides the thumbnail guide as to the main focus for the budget program:

When it comes to digging into the key areas of interest for budget preparation, the School District presentation offers up an outline of the current levels of student enrolment, as well as a forecast for the future based on some of the current industrial expansion plans around the community.

However when it comes to prospect of funding for the School District through the province's Funding Protection Formula the School District notes that the total operating grant will decline by 1.5 per cent or $360,000 dollars.

Other impacts on the budget process include upcoming negotiated wage increases, the uncertainty of future funding, impact of the recent Supreme Court victory for the BCTF, Enrolment Audit findings, actual enrolment numbers and any offshore tuition numbers .

The District also calls attention to such issues as a shrinking surplus, By-election costs, Legal Costs and Retirements and Resignations and their impact on the budget.

Putting all of those notes and a few others together provides for a Big Picture view of the Budget shortfall, with the breakdown noting that is estimated at $550,000, which less the current surplus of $350,000 means that there is a need for $200,000 in reductions.

When it comes to District Spending, Instruction chews up 78 percent of the budget, with operations and Maintenance next at 14 percent, while District Administration consumes 7 percent. Transportation accounts for the final 1 percent of the financial overview.

Towards their goal of a Balanced Budget, the School District has outlined some of the Spending Reduction options that are under consideration

Towards further study on Budget issues, the School District is also seeking the input of the public through their Project Description Form initiative, which puts the call out for community engagement that offers up savings suggestions, or new concepts for consideration.

That form can be accessed here.

The presentation from January also provided a glimpse into the School District's Draft Strategic Plan which features both the School District's Mission Statement and Vision Statement:

The full review of the January Presentation can be found here.

For those interested in taking part in the survey on the Budget process currently underway you can be access it here.

The next stage of the consultation process involves the opportunity for partner groups and stakeholders to make presentations to the trustees on February 7th.

The Public will have their next opportunity to comment on the process as part of a meeting set for March 9th at 7 PM in the Multi-Purpose room of Charles Hays Secondary.

At that meeting the latest information on projected enrollment, ministry funding and budget saving options will be presented to those in attendance, as well as one final opportunity for those in the community to address the trustees on issues of interest or concern.

Background on SD52 issues can be reviewed on our Education archive page here, while further notes related to issues on Education across the Northwest can be found on our archive page here.

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