By David F. Rooney
SD 19 trustees passed a $12,994,939 budget for the 2015/2016 school year at their regular monthly meeting, held on Wednesday, May 27, at Begbie View Elementary School.
This budget is up from the $12,040,359 approved for this current school year but although this new budget represents an increase in funding by the Ministry of Education that additional money does not address all “the cost pressures” the board faces, Board Chairman Alan Chell said.
“It was a difficult task,” he said. “There were many, many challenges. People worked really hard to produce a balanced budget.”
Those challenges included increases to teacher and support staff salaries, medical services plan expenses and related benefit plan premiums, utility increases and costs related to transportation and maintenance. About 85 per cent of the total budget is being spent on staffing. Consequently, Chell said it is difficult to find efficiencies and make reductions in spending without having an impact on staffing levels and direct support to students. As well, last month the board was saddled with demands by the Ministry of Education that the school district achieve “administrative savings,” which represented a reduction in overall revenue. Every school district in BC was ordered to achieve these so-called savings despite opposition by the BC School Trustees’ Association. You can watch the board’s discussion of the budget at about the 57-minute mark on the video below.
The board also heard an annual report from Begbie View Elementary School Principal Yanping Wang (that’s at the beginning of the video). The board was very pleased with the leadership skills the students are learning at the school. The board also discussed a new strategic plan that is being developed by the District. It includes new Mission, Vision and Values Statements. You can read the complete set of documents, and provide feedback, at the District’s newly redesigned website. The District will also be setting up a table at the Community Centre with printed information available for interested parents on Thursday afternoon from 4 pm until 6 pm. E-mail comments about these documents can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please activate the YouTube player below to watch the Wednesday, May 27, school board meeting in its entirety: