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School board faces $1.8 million shortfall

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District is facing significant financial challenges.

If government funding comes in at what is expected, the district will be short $1.841 million.

“The combination of $800,780 in additional cost pressures combined with a projected revenue decline of $1,040,000 results in a projected operating budget shortfall for the 2014/15 school year,” said Sterling Olson, secretary-treasurer.

Other factors include support for the Provincial Learning Network possibly coming out of school district funding.

“While most districts agree that improvement to connectivity of the provincial network is critical to delivering their educational programs, we believe these investments should be borne by the province,” said Olson.

“The ministry has informed districts the province is not in a position to provide additional funding for this initiative.”

Also, staffing allocations are currently being planned on the basis of the existing language in collective agreements.

No provision has been made for changes resulting from the legal dispute between the government and the B.C. Teachers Federation.

If the district is required to reinstate the provisions in dispute, additional staffing costs of $1.6 million would be incurred for 2014/15.

Olson also points out that the district is currently being aided by the Ministry of Education’s funding protection formula.

In 2013/14, the district received almost $2 million in funding protection. This formula protects the board from having its main September enrolment funding reduced below a level of 98.5 per cent of the previous year’s funding.

“The funding protection formula for the coming year is expected to remain unchanged. This means there would be a maximum loss of $901,024 in operating revenue next year,” said Olson. “While funding protection helps smooth or mitigate the funding loss in any one year, it is supplementary funding that will disappear once the total funding allocation system funding is no longer lower than the 98.5 per cent level. The present supplement of almost $2 million will most likely be eliminated over the next three years.”

 

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