Monday, May 17, 2021

SD52 outlines range of measures in place to address Budget Deficit for 2021-22

The Board of Education for School District 52 has posted the details of their budget deliberations of last week, charting the financial course of pencil sharpening that will be required to bring their financial plan to balance for the year ahead.

In an information release posted to the SD52 website on Monday morning, the Board notes that  it has found its way to Balance and restored a reserve as a contingency.

The financial work accomplished largely through the layoff of 13 Itinerant teachers which provided for 1.2 million of the 1.7 million that they have pared from their financial plan.

The Board of Education has adopted the annual budget for 2021-22. The operating budget is a surplus budget. This surplus enables the district to restore a reserve of $188,700 or 0.67% of the budget as a contingency to address future operational needs. 

The Surplus Policy provides that a contingency should be maintained at between 2% and 4% of the operating budget. The budget includes ongoing spending reductions totaling $1,657,700. 

New ongoing spending of $39,000 was also approved. A one-time cancellation of the annual $45,000 contribution to the vehicle replacement reserve helped to fund one-time spending in the amount of $150,000 for ongoing work on the Prince Rupert Middle School Seismic Replacement Project. 

Total expenses in the approved operating budget are $26,583,776. The total budget bylaw (including capital and special purpose funds) is $31,644,191.

Board Chair James Horne also made note of the impact that their decisions will have on the teaching staff of the district, 

“The Board acknowledges the significant impact of the decision to reduce the number of teachers in the district. The requirement to have a balanced budget left the Board with few other choices. The Board worked very hard to direct the other budget reductions to areas that will have the least impact on students. The addition of time to school libraries will make these learning commons spaces more accessible.”

The full overview of the Reductions and how the trustees have re-allocated some of the spending can be explored below; with the Occupational Health and Safety budget and PRMS Staffing the two areas of the largest cuts outside of the Itinerant teaching positions.

In addition to their financial cuts, the Board has also outlined its plans towards an investigation into how the number of Itinerant teachers reached the level it did this year without the Board being aware of the financial impact.

The Board of Education passed a motion asking the Superintendent to investigate how 10 additional itinerant teachers were hired for the 2020-2021 school year, and why the Board was not informed.

There was no indication from the information statement if the Board will be making the details of the investigation public upon its completion.

As we noted last week, the prospect of layoffs has not been well received by the Prince Rupert and District Teachers Union, which has called for wider reductions in spending in a range of areas.

There were a few other items of note from the May 11th Board Meeting, with Board Chair Horne praising the work of District Principal Christine Franes and Occupational Therapist James Wintle for their work in support of teachers and a systemic approach to improving student literacy.

“The Board was very impressed by the ability of our staff to expand their project to multiple schools despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope staff will be able to meet in-person when the project enters its third year in 2021-2022.”

The Board also made changes to the School calendar for 2021-22 with non-instructional days in February and April their focus.

The last SD52 Board meeting for this current school year will arrive on June 15th, the last day of School for students comes up on June 29th.

You can review the full information release from the School District here.

For more notes on the Budget themes and other items of interest from SD52 see our archive page here.

To review how other School Districts of the region are addressing their issues see our Northwest overview here.

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