New school year begins with slight budget surplus in Penticton | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New school year begins with slight budget surplus in Penticton

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
September 15, 2017 - 9:00 PM

PENTICTON - The school year at Okanagan Skaha School District is off to a good start with its financial fortunes are looking up.

School Board chair Linda Van Alphen says the school board has a small budget surplus of $900,022, of which $791,345 is restricted.

The surplus comes as the result of a structural deficit the board was carrying since 2015.

“In 2016, we reached the decision to close three schools, which would have provided us with the $1.2 million we needed,” she says.

The school board eventually closed a single school - McNicoll - and received money from the province to keep Trout Creek and West Bench Elementary Schools open, she says.

“The restricted funds are, for the most part, what is left over of the funds or grants awarded to School District 67 over the school year,” Van Alphen says.

The funds can only be used as carry over for their original special purposes, citing examples such as the school district’s Aboriginal education program or the Vancouver Foundation’s “Through a Different Lens” program as two areas the money can be used for.

Van Alphen says the remaining $108,677 is considered unrestricted funds, which will be directed to the general operating budget and will be used this year if needed. If not, the money will be carried forward to 2018.

In terms of the total operating budget, the surplus is small potatoes, amounting to only .00199 per cent of the district’s $54,368,633 budget for 2017.

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