School board budget increased 

The Howe Sound School District has $250,000 "extra" to play with this year but how much of that bonus will filter down to individual schools remains to be seen.

After lengthy delays, the Ministry of Education last month allocated just under $30.4 million in preliminary funding to the district for the 2001/02 school year.

District assistant secretary-treasurer John Hetherington told the board at their May meeting that this represents an increase of $258,217 over the previous year.

The board has until May 31 to submit its budget to the ministry. A lump of cash will be retained at district level to run central services. The remainder – almost $21 million – will be doled out to the schools using a funding formula.

Hetherington said "intense individual meetings" have been held with Howe Sound school principals who were asked to come back with more up-to-date pupil projections so that the board can more accurately determine how much funding will flow into each school.

The school allotments were then to be recalculated and principals were expected to re-work and resubmit their budgets by last week.

The next step is to aggregate all the budgets and present them for approval at a special school board meeting slated for May 30.

The district is anticipating a total of about 4,524 students in the system next year, down from 4,555. Each student is allocated a core funding amount with slightly more going to the lower grades.

A Kindergarten to Grade 3 pupil, for example, is allocated $3,465 for next year – up 2.4 per cent. Grades 8 to 12 get $3,428 each – 2.5 per cent over this year. The intermediate grades get just over $3,000 per pupil – up 2.5 per cent. Extra cash goes to students with special needs and aboriginal students.

Career programs will see the biggest budget cut next year. This area will see a 17.8 per cent decrease in funding allocation.

The preliminary budget presented to the board May 9 saw both Myrtle Philip and Whistler secondary receiving just over $1.7 million each. Pemberton secondary was set to get about $2 million and just over $1.5 million was targeted for Signal Hill. Most of the cash goes to staffing costs.


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