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

Little Wagon Theatre brings comedy to Nelson streets

There will be various performances of It’s Jest a Show throughout the weekend

Hometown gold for rowers at Nelson Regatta

Rosie Velisek and Jesse Harold won three golds Saturday

LETTER: Time to roll back power prices

FortisBC is overcharging customers, Andy Shadrack argues

Taekwondo is a family obsession at Nelson’s Yom Chi Martial Arts

The Jordahls have found success with their Baker Street dojang

Nelson city hall will fly Pride flag this year

Council will develop a policy for future flag decisions

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Most Read