School District 83 facing yet another budget shortfall with little left to cut

NORTH OKANAGAN - Deeper cuts are on the way in the North-Okanagan Shuswap School District. 

At a board meeting Mar. 10, secretary-treasurer Sterling Olsen said the district must find $1.8 million in savings to balance next year’s budget.

“It is a very challenging financial picture and it looks like we have a number of years of financial challenges ahead of us," he said.

The district, which receives government funding based on its number of students, is predicting an enrolment decline of about 137 students next year. Olsen noted the provincial government’s recent budget announcement included money for labour settlement cash, but that the province then “turned around and announced they were going to be taking $54 million out of funding for boards across the province for the next two years.” School District 83’s share of that is estimated to be $685,000 in revenue reductions.

"It's going to be really tough trying to find this money," board chair Bobbi Johnson said of the budget shortfall. "I thought a few years ago we had cut everything we could cut. Now we are going places trustees do not want to go."

She noted the board has, in the past, tried to make cuts where they won’t affect the classroom — like custodial and administration reductions.

"Last year we had to cut things that do impact the classroom, like family life and library time, and this year the cuts are going to go even deeper. It's tough to do this,” she said.

The board is considering closing a school and reconfiguring others for September 2015, changes which, if implemented, would have an impact on the 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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