Enrolment is still on the rise in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District — which means more funds coming into the coffers, but also more pressures in allocating the allotted funds.
In order for a balanced budget to be official approved at the June 19 board meeting, Official Trustee Mike McKay received and approved a set of budget adjustments at Tuesday evening’s board meeting.
For September 2018, the school district is predicting an increase of 164 full time students, which will generate an additional $2.9 million in additional revenue from the Ministry of Education.
This does not, however, mean that money can be freely spent on whatever the school district wants, as there are fixed costs associated with the inceased enrolment, for example, the salaries of the additional teachers needed for those students.
Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Bittante explained that after accounting for all of the costs associated with enrolment increases, opening the new outdoor learning program and cost pressures outside of the district’s control, there is approximately $600,000 remaining in the budget.
McKay noted the requests for items to be included in the budget always outstrips the available funds.
Some of the items recommended by staff and approved by McKay approved include: a $128,914 increase to school supply allocations, $38,732 increase to occupational therapy and physiotherapy time, $81,232 to the Inclusive Support Program (ISP) for additions to teaching and prep time, $4,000 to cover transportation costs related to early dismissal of students for the report card initiative, $242,787 for costs associated with the implementation of the new curriculum, $38,732 teaching time for sexual health, and $96,830 for SPARK Program at Pleasant Valley Secondary.
McKay noted the number of committee and public meetings that were held before the draft budget was created.
“This was not done behind closed doors, the work was done, the issues discussed and it was shared before getting us to this point today.”