The Comox Valley Board of Education unanimously passed the 2013-14 budget Tuesday.
Faced with a projected $1.45-million shortfall in its $74.466 million operating budget, the finance committee recommended $826,000 in budget adjustments, and pulling $619,000 from the district’s operating reserve to balance it.
District secretary-treasurer Russell Horswill noted the district will receive $971,000 less in Ministry of Education grants, plus some district expenses, like MSP rates and teacher pension rates, are on the rise.
The finance committee found savings in areas like removal of one-time costs, reductions to supplies and services costs, and a change in leave replacement protocols, seeing some district staff positions left empty for the first day of leave. The leave replacement protocol will not include vital staff like teachers with classes to teach.
The budget also sees full-time teaching positions reduced by five — a decision made using the teacher staffing matrix, which showed a need for five fewer teachers based on declining enrolment numbers in the district next year.
Horswill noted the district normally receives extra government funding in December — it received $900,000 this past December. According to the committee, the funding likely coming this December could go back into the district’s operating reserve, offsetting the $619,000 removed to balance the budget.