The Kootenay Lake School District is continuing to work through creating a status quo budget for the 2012-13 school year and making efforts to ensure they’re doing so sustainably.
“We’re continuing to gather information from participants in the process,” said superintendent Jeff Jones, adding that at the May 8 board meeting he hopes to have third reading and approve a preliminary budget to be submitted to the province.
Along with aligning the services with the needs of students, the board is facing some challenges to a sustainable budget.
“The district has had the good fortune of receiving funding protection for a number of years,” said Jones.
The funding protection allowed the district to receive the same amount of funding as previous years regardless of declining enrollment.
“The district did not have to be challenged in previous years in terms of making some hard staffing decisions as the student population decreased.
“What we’ve been advised is that the funding protection over the next three years will by 98.5 per cent of what we received in the previous year,” said Jones, adding the district is looking for sustainability and predictability when making budgets.
“In order to ensure that our programming is sustainable, we cannot rely on these funds to support our core programming… it only takes two or three years until we’re no longer in funding protection and that means the funding we receive is only funding that is generated by our student population.”
However, the district will be receiving funding to be used for special projects and initiatives.
“We are pleased that Bill 22 has introduced a Learning Improvement Fund of $626,190 for the 2012-2013 school year. This fund was originally half of the amount we are receiving, however the government is utilizing strike savings to add to the fund — therefore doubling it throughout the province. The Learning Improvement Fund will support students in a variety of ways — such as the addition of teacher time, professional development for teachers, education assistant support, supplies and so forth,” said Jones.
The budget has currently gone through second reading and will reach third reading at the next school board meeting on May 8 when it could also be approved as the preliminary budget.
“We’ve presented many possibilities for consideration and over the next few weeks we’ll be receiving more input from participants on the finance committee… it won’t be until the trustees have done their third reading of the budget and approved it that we’ll know what we are going to move forward with for next year.”