School District 71 board meeting. File photo.

School District 71 board meeting. File photo.

SD71 sees $1.2 million budget deficit

Funding from the Ministry of Education was less than expected

SD71 has come up with a budget deficit after government funding it received was less than expected.

Though it expected an operating grant of $80.5 million from the Ministry of Education, the actual amount received was $1.5 million less.

Secretary-treasurer of the district, Nicole Bittante, explained that funding from the ministry is based on enrolment projections. In the winter, using a tool called Baragar Systems, the school district estimates September enrolment. Based on the school’s Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) enrolment, the ministry does a preliminary grant allocation to school districts across the province. A preliminary budget is put together in the spring based on this grant announcement.

FTE is different than headcount and is calculated based on the number of courses each student is taking.

“So by the end of September, we know exactly what our enrolment is and then the ministry recalculates the grant and gives us the final grant in December, which is what we just received,” said Bittante.

The SD71 estimate was off by 191 FTE enrolment.

Bittante cautions that this does not mean enrolment was down this year, it was just lower than projected.

“Our enrolment is actually up over the actual enrolment last September,” she said.

“It’s just down from what we projected it to be this September.”

At the Dec. 18 school board meeting, board chair Janice Caton noted that this system has been used by SD71 for many years and it has never been this wrong.

“It’s something we’ve used for many years, it’s always been right on the mark, maybe off by five or 10 students, but never to the degree it’s been now,” she said.

Bittante explained that Baragar Systems provides projected headcount and she believes the problem arose from the conversion from headcount to FTE. Not every student, especially in high school, takes a full course load, which results in a reduced FTE for that student.

As an example, Tom Demeo, assistant superintendent, added that if a student has a support block, they do not get credit, and the district is not funded for that block.

“I believe that most of the issue is attributed to the fact that we were audited last year,” said Bittante, adding that the most notable variances were seen in high schools, which had changed some of their practices after the audit.

Though the grant came in $1.5 million short, after adjusting the budget, a savings of approximately $300,000 was found, reducing the deficit to $1,220,129.

At the meeting, the school board voted in favour of transferring this amount from the district’s unrestricted operating surplus to balance the budget.

RELATED: G.P. Vanier upgrades more than $1.4 million over budget


jolene.rudisuela@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The finish line! Huband held a ‘Colour Run’ Friday to celebrate what’s been a different school year. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley school lets its colours run

Huband Elementary wanted a way to bring kids together

Cumberland has agreed to a sponsorship agreement with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland agrees to sponsorship with Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce

Some on council did express concerns from the past such as amalgamation push

Habitat VIN executive director Pat McKenna, and community engagement manager (Comox Valley) Alli Epp are all geared up for the 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North #BidtoBuild online auction. Photo supplied
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North online auction opens soon

Get ready to ‘bid to build.’ The 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver… Continue reading

Ronan and his son, eight-year-old Erwan Teyssier ran The Cumby together this year. Photo supplied
Cumby Trail Race raises $15,000+ for Cumberland forest protection

The theme of The Cumby 2021 trail race was ‘Celebrating This Land’… Continue reading

From left, Karen Cummins, Suzanne Gravelle and Ted Grainger pose with the winner of this year’s Comox Valley Nature Tree of the Year contest - a western yew, located in the Cumberland Community Forest. Photo by Dianne Grainger.
Comox Valley’s ‘Tree of the Year’ unveiled

By Kerri Scott Special to The Record For the first time in… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read