Enrollment numbers are down in the Kootenay Lake School District.

Kootenay Lake school district grapples with financial swings

District right on the cut-off to qualify for funding protection.

The Kootenay Lake school district may take a $705,000 hit this year due to declining enrollment because they’re just shy of qualifying for funding protection, according to secretary-treasurer Kim Morris.

“The shortened version is we have less money because of lower enrolment,” Morris informed the board Tuesday. “Don’t panic.”

Schools receive funding protection when their enrollment drops by 1.5 per cent or more, but the Kootenay Lake school district’s rate is hovering around 1.4 per cent. There will be a recount by the Ministry of Education and this decision has not been finalized, but it should be confirmed by Nov. 6.

Last year, the district had 4,702.65 full-time equivalent students. They projected a drop this year to 4,640, a decline of 62. In fact, as of Sept. 30, they had 4,654.75, about a dozen more than expected — it’s this discrepancy that bumped them below the funding protection cut-off.

This news comes on the heels of controversy surrounding an announced $2.3 million surplus left over from last year, most of which has been earmarked or re-appropriated for specific uses, such as projects that have been carried over from previous years.

The teachers’ associations have made it clear they want some of these funds to go towards staffing. Superintendent Jeff Jones told the Star it’s not necessarily that simple.

“Administration has been recommending from the very beginning that if there’s a surplus, we could use that for teaching and staffing time,” he said.

But he’s not yet sure that’s the best use, or if the funds will remain available. A number of financial variables hang in the air, including news that the 2015/16 budget is currently looking at a $132,000 shortfall.

“I call this the shifting sands of decision-making,” Jones said. “In our sector there’s always shifting sands and we have to be nimble enough to not only respond but also anticipate as much as we can,” he said.

That being said, there is $742,000 for grabs — an amount that could be effectively cancelled out if the district doesn’t receive funding protection. Jones said funneling money one direction means taking it from elsewhere.

That’s why he’s attempting to be as “transparent” and “inclusive” as possible by inviting members of the community, parents, teachers, stakeholders and senior administration to discuss their options at at the finance and operations committee of the whole meeting comprised of trustees, representatives from parents, CUPE staff and principals and vice-principals.

“We’ll hear from everyone,” he said.

One piece of potentially good news is that the number of aboriginal education students has risen, one of the only demographics in the system to see an increase.


Regardless of whether the District receives funding protection or not, its position remains essentially the same.  A shortfall due to a decrease in students does impact the 15-16 budget.  The unappropriated surplus from the 14-15 school year may need to be used to balance this year’s operating budget.


Just Posted

Selkirk College students protest proposed tuition increases

Sudents’ union says this year’s 2 per cent increase puts education out of reach for some

Nelson project funds rural schools in Nepal

Mountain trekker David Swain runs the Altitude Project

Trail area homicide investigation continues

Jan. 14 marked one year since Jordan Workman was discovered in the trunk of a burnt car

Leafs, Nitehawks settle for 4-4 tie

Nelson is now unbeaten in nine straight games

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

VIDEO: Monday Roundup

The Star’s weekly news roundup

Giuliani clarifies comments about Trump Tower Moscow project

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani clarifies comments he made

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Most Read