School district considering proposals to save $300,000 

Too early to say what impact proposals will have on classrooms

Sea to Sky School District staff is looking at ways to cut spending and save $300,000 following the latest provincial government budget.

It has been told:

• $30,000 will be clawed back by the province

• The district will receive $100,000 less from the francophone education authority as it passes on its own cutbacks.

• The district must come up with $15,000 to fund the six per cent increase in MSP premiums outlined in the provincial budget.

• The district must cover the increase in Standard Teacher Cost totalling $93,000.

The district, like so many institutions, is also facing a reduction in interest income due to the economy. This year that totals about $23,000.

On Sept. 14 the Finance Committee met, then later made a report to the school board, suggesting ways to find the close to $300,000 it is short.

The board asked staff to look at the proposals and report back on Oct. 7. Right now all the cuts are just proposals, said school district secretary treasurer Nancy Edwards.

"At this point it is hard to say what the impact might be (on the classroom)," she said.

"We have just put them out there and what will happen on Oct. 7 is that the education staff will come back and say, 'if you did this, this is what will happen.'"

For now Edwards has compared previous budgets with actual spending and tried to cut operations as close to actual spending as possible to try and find the savings.

"What we are trying to do is pick away at little pieces," said Edwards.

"One thing I have already done is meet with operational staff and say you have to watch every single expenditure like a hawk and put it through the filter of, do we really need this, because we are going into this year with very limited unrestricted surplus and that is unheard of for this district.

"So it is a different ball game."

The district must also spend money on some significant infrastructure changes including grounds supplies and services, the switch to natural gas, and water and sewer upgrades.

On the facilities side, said Edwards, there is enough money in the facilities surplus account to cover all the expenses at this time.

"The main challenge, which is the annual facilities grant, the main proposal for that is to use surplus monies in that account and if the board accepts that solution it will have no impact on the operating budget," said Edwards.



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