Friday, May 08, 2009

School Board set to sharpen the pencils in bid to zero out deficit..

School District 52's preliminary budget with its declared deficit of $62,375 thus far, shows that there still is the need for some budgetary accounting to be done, as the school district moves towards providing its final document of a balanced budget as mandated by the province.

The Northern View outlined some of the troublesome issues that the school district is facing in its quest to balance that budget, with an estimated overall enrollment decline of 198 students there will be a funding shortfall from this current year and with 31 project proposals received by May 6th there will be the need to factor in over 1.5 million dollars in costing to run those proposals.

The announcement of the deficit and the continuing examination of how to get closer to that balanced budget, will no doubt increase the anxiety for some of those residents who have been concerned over recent happenings at the School District.

The recent departure of former Superintendent Eric Mercer appears likely to once again become a lightning rod for those concerned about the School Districts recent moves, the cost of his departure, combined with the need to hire a replacement for the remainder of the school term may seem like an expense that in light of current fiscal troubles, might have been handled differently.

Likewise, the start up costs of the Pacific Coast School may once again be put under the microscope, with residents wondering about the need to lease a building in the downtown core, as opposed to utilizing one of the recently closed elementary schools of the east end as the home for the former alternative school.

Both are issues that in times of financial concern, may once again flare up as requiring a bit more accounting for than has been recently provided by the School District board.

The next step in the process for the School District comes up at the May 25th meeting of the Advisory Budget Committee meeting, at which time the District will bring along its thoughts on such issues as what the priorities and cost all of the projects will be, as well as the determinations of final staffing levels and class size and composition for the upcoming year.

The School District must have its final budget plans in place and deliver its balanced budget by the June 9th meeting. We suspect that there will be much in the way of public debate to come over how they reach their final numbers for 2009-10.

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