VERNON - The Vernon School District will dip into its reserves to cover next year's budget shortfall, but it's already worried about what to do the year after that.
Once again, School District 22 is facing a budget deficit, this time in the amount of $950,000 due to cost pressures and a $400,000 cut in provincial funding, acting secretary treasurer Adrian Johnson says in a media release.
“The situation will get worse for the 2016/2017 school year, when we see a further cut of $400,000 in provincial funding,” Johnson says.
The School District plans to fund its $950,000 shortfall using reserves, which will leave about $1 million in the bank, enough for emergencies, Johnson says, but not for the future.
“Using reserves is not a sustainable way of funding our operations though, and with the additional $400,000 in cuts expected the following year means we will be struggling to cut our budget by about $1.4 million for the 2016/17 school year,” Johnson says.
Over one hundred people, plus the Vernon Teacher’s Association and CUPE, provided input into this year’s budget and Superintendent Joe Rogers called that a “tremendous response reflective of the passion of our community and staff for our children’s education.”
“Much of that feedback is reflected in this year’s budget,” Rogers said. “Between now and December, we will use the results of the public input to thoroughly and strategically analyze our expenditures and identify how we can bridge this $1.4 million funding gap with minimal impact on education in future years.”
Despite the budget pressures, the district is still finding ways to put money into education. Board chair Kelly Smith noted $200,000 will be invested into education-oriented information technology services, and $150,000 into career, technology, and numeracy support teachers.
“This extra expense will be mostly offset by anticipated savings of $300,000 in legal fees, transportation, a change in the funding model for school supplies and extra interest generated on cash deposits,” Smith said.
Members of the public can view the first draft of the budget and provide input through the school district’s website.
First reading was given to the 2015/2016 budget at a board meeting April 22.
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