KAMLOOPS - Another year, another round of budget cuts for the Kamloops-Thompson School District, which means staff will be forced to get even more creative with the budget.
School district secretary-treasurer Kelvin Stretch says not only is the district facing a potential decline in enrolment to the tune of 300 students, the Ministry of Education is requiring they trim another $758,000 in administrative spending.
“Our district is project declining enrolment, which will affect the budget,” Stretch says. “The new item introduced this year is the administrative savings the ministry is looking for. So we’re looking for $1.6 million to balance the budget.”
The district receives just over $7,100 in funding per student and with upwards of 300 students less next year that could alone means $2 million less in overall funding, even though the number of schools needed to be operated remains the same.
“The problem our district faces, and most district probably, is that we’ve been doing this several years in a row,” Stretch says, noting it’s getting harder and harder to balance the progressively tighter budget. “It’s becoming a greater challenge. Districts will continue to do what we do because we have an obligation to file a balanced budget.”
Stretch notes there are restrictions over where the ministry-directed administrative savings can come from, and they do allow some opportunities for revenue growth through things such as interest dividends and growing the international student program.
Cuts will likely come in the form of a few thousand dollars here and there, Stretch says, and will be done in a way to have a minimal impact on students.
A committee has been formed to look at each individual area and they will meet on Monday to bring ideas to the table before officially presenting options to the school board Monday evening. The budget will be presented publicly, cuts and all, April 9.
Stretch notes these cuts are specific to the operational budget and will not impact necessary school upgrades or maintenance, which are covered under the capital budget.
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— This story was updated at 12:22 p.m., March 28, 2015, to correct numbers in the story.