More cuts on the horizon for Vernon School District

VERNON - More cuts are on the way in the Vernon School District.

The provincial government requires $437,000 of cuts in non-instructional costs at School District 22 next year, rising to $814,000 in 2016/17.

“Our School District has suffered many cuts in funding in recent years. We’re proud that we’ve kept much of the cost reductions out of the classroom. Finding further efficiencies without impacting our students will be very challenging’ board chair Kelly Smith said.

Last year, the school district spent $59.4 million of its operating grant on instruction, $9.7 million on district administration, operations and maintenance, and $2.2 million on transportation (busing students to and from school.)

“We’re already spending about $0.9 million, or 9 per cent less on administration, operations and maintenance than our peers. That has kept desperately needed resources in the classroom,” Superintendent Joe Rogers said. “But we need an efficient administrative system and clean, safe and functioning schools – and that doesn’t come for free.”

The School District is predicting a small decrease in regular enrolment of 20 students, down to 7,820 students in September 2015. The projected provincial operating grant for School District 22 in 2015/16 is $71.8 million.

“We also face inflationary pressures. MSP premiums, CPP contributions, irrigation charges, and many other supplies and services are increasing in cost,’ acting secretary-treasurer Adrian Johnson said. “This, combined with the administrative cuts imposed by the province, will mean we’re looking for well over a million dollars in cost reductions by 2016/17. That’s equivalent to the cost of the teaching staff in an entire elementary school.”

Members of the public are invited to attend a public meeting at the Schubert Centre at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday April 1 to provide input into School District 22’s 2015/16 budget.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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