March 11, 2015 - 8:30 PM
KELOWNA - Central Okanagan school board officials are meeting tomorrow with the Ministry of Education to learn what its share of $29 million provincial budget cuts will be and where they might hit.
Secretary treasurer Larry Paul is expecting a budget cut of aproximately $1.1 million, based on similar reductions in the last few years, even though the district might actually get more money.
“We may get more money but not enough to fund the labour settlement,” he said. “We joke about never meeting a fully-funded agreement that is fully funded.”
He expects the budget pain to be evenly distributed. The district will be expected to find “administrative efficiencies” to make up the shortfall in its budget—$117 million last year, based on enrollment of aproximately 21,500 students.
“What that is hasn’t been defined yet,” said Paul, adding the ministry can add a twist by targeting or protecting certain services as they see fit. “Typically we have protected our top priorities and reduced services in those that are not, so it tends to be spread amongst different departments and services.... But that could change based on what comes out of tomorrow’s meeting."
Paul was blunt in his opinion of the way the ministry handles district funding and the uncertainty it causes.
“They will pigeon-hole us into certain areas but they don’t understand us or our priorities,” he said. “Their view of administrative efficiencies will differ from our view.”
His department will start immediately after the meeting to prepare a draft budget for the April 1 finance committee to consider.
The preliminary budget, based on expected enrollment, will be submitted to the ministry in June, with a final adjustment based on actual enrolment numbers due in the fall.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015