Regional Office, Barrhead –
School board 2019-20 budget depletes reserves
Delayed release of the provincial budget has required the school board to adopt their 2019-20 budget based on assumptions including:
- Declining enrolment of approx 2% resulting in $284,000 less revenue
- Removal of Classroom Improvement Funding (CIF) resulting in $843,600 less revenue
- Elimination of nutrition funding resulting in $166,000 less revenue
- Continuation of the School fee reduction grant worth $405,650
- Cost of provincial agreement with the teachers, not including salaries, is $371,750
All other funding rates are assumed to be the same as 2018-19. If any of the assumptions are inaccurate, the changes will be reflected in the fall budget update. Overall, the board is projecting an operating deficit of $2.2M. This shortfall will be covered by reserve funds, however it will deplete most of the division’s reserves.
Division facing future financial risks
The school board is trying to balance significant financial risks which include:
- Continued funding shortfall in serving students with the greatest needs — The budget projects a funding shortfall of $2.2M in this area. In the spring of 2019, the Alberta School Boards Association indicated that 79% of school boards were reporting a shortfall in this area, with the average deficit of more than $2M.
- Declining enrolment in community schools — From 1995 to 2019, enrolment has dropped 1,602 students (30%). This has had a tremendous impact on our schools and student programs.
- Depleting operating reserves and the division’s dependency on them to retain service levels.
The combined 2019-20 budget expenses for PHPS and ADLC is $80.67M.
Check out the board meeting agenda and minutes for more information.
The next school board meeting is at the PHPS Regional Office in Barrhead on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 starting at 9:30 a.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend.