First draft of SD8 budget prepares for $1 million shortfall

At Tuesday’s finance committee meeting, SD8 trustees received the first draft of the 2012-13 budget, anticipated to create some challenges.

At Tuesday’s finance committee meeting, Kootenay Lake School District trustees received the initial draft of the 2012-13 budget, which is anticipated to create some challenges.

“If we spent the money exactly the same next year as we’re spending it this year, given the revenue that we’re anticipating, we’re looking at a shortfall of about $1 million,” said Jeff Jones, SD8 superintendant.

Revenue for the current school year came in at about $52 million, while the 2012-13 preliminary budget revenue is anticipated at $51 million.

Jones said that over the next few months, the district will meet with stakeholders to try and align the available resources to best meet the needs of students.

“Our work is to look though our district for cost efficiencies and to determines what we can be doing differently in order to meet student needs, recognizing that we need to address that shortfall,” he said.

Some of the challenges in resource allocation Jones mentioned were deciding how what the district needs to cut out so that it can support more effective strategies and moving towards more successful processes to better meet the needs to today’s students.

“We have that challenge every year,” said Jones.

At this early part of the process, the district will meet stakeholder groups including the District Parent Advisory Council at finance committee meetings.

“We have a pretty thorough engagement process. We have had opportunities for administrators to work with the trustees to talk about their schools and we have had several online webinars with our administrative staff throughout the district,” said Jones.

“We’re doing a variety of goal setting processes, but the main thing to keep in mind is that we have been striving as a district to make sure that we have a model in place where our priorities and the goals that we have established to meet those priorities inform the budget process.”

Some of the areas that have been identified by the district for consideration in the budget process are the areas of technology, the importance of addressing the students’ needs early in their school careers and aging infrastructure in both buildings and office and student technology.

The district began the budget process January 30, and Jones says it should go through towards the end of May.

Due to declining enrollment, SD8 has been placed in a funding protection position and won’t be affected from the new Liberal government’s provincial budget announced Tuesday aside from the current standing 1.5 per cent reduction.

“We won’t know what our final grant announcement is until next December and that’s one of the challenges with doing a budgeting process. We actually do a preliminary budget and we have to work with that until the actual funding announcement next December when we do a final budget,” said Jones.

The next finance committee meeting is March 27, at the Nelson Board Office.