Pressure to rein in school district budgets has led the Kootenay Lake School District to axe a management position in its Nelson office.
The assistant secretary treasurer position, created in 2007, was eliminated effective September 19. School district superintendent Jeff Jones says the cut was necessary because budgets are getting tighter as the district phases out its reliance on funding protection from the province.
“This decision was made in the understanding that we are going to continue to face reductions in our operating grant in the next couple of years,” Jones says.
This year, as a result of a 1.5 per cent reduction in funding protection, the district lost about $750,000 from its 2012/13 operating budget. The funding reductions will continue each year until the district is out of funding protection and receiving only per-student funding, which is expected to take three years.
“It is our intention and our commitment to look through our entire district for opportunities to create efficiencies and make sure our resources are being focused on the needs of our students,” Jones says.
Last spring, when dozens of teachers were facing layoff notices to help the district adapt to the new budget constraints, the school district was criticized for seemingly not reducing an equivalent number of administrative positions at the district office.
Jones responded to those concerns by saying his staff were looking at where they could make reductions. Though he acknowledges that many of the existing administrative roles are necessary to run the school district.
“We have a relatively large organization with an operating budget of over $50 million,” he points out. “We have a responsibility to make sure we have an appropriate number of staff in place to attend to the work that goes with that.”
Jones says cuts are likely to continue at all levels of the district operation unless the province decides to restore funding protection to schools.