The North Okanagan Shuswap school board has signed off on a $94,654,339 budget for the 2022-23 school year.
The Board of Education’s annual budget process begins each year in February. A three-year student full-time enrolment (FTE) projection summary for the following school year is required to be submitted to province by mid-February.
Based on these projections and the funding rates established by government, a preliminary summary of operating grants is provided to all districts by mid-March.
As announced on March 11, the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s Operating Grant block funding rates remained unchanged from the previous year and after much work and many budget committee, committee of the whole, and board meetings, the annual budget was presented to trustees for final approval at the June meeting.
According to a report from School District 83, several trustees voiced concern about the contingency being less than one per cent but Dale Culler, director of finance, noted the district is getting indications that enrolment will be higher than projected - which should increase funding - and additional funding, along with the $400,000 contingency which was set aside for inclusive education, could be used if necessary.
Vice-chairperson Tennile Lachmuth said she thought this year's budget was "scraping us by" with as much as possible of the funding going towards supports for students.
Trustee Marty Gibbons said he was not in support of the budget because he didn't think "as a board we are hitting the mark on inclusive education.”
Trustee Quentin Bruns, who was chairperson of the budget committee, said he was "blown away" that in a year when there is flat funding, decreased enrolment, increased costs and other challenges, they were able to add in a speech language pathologist position.
"It is nothing short of remarkable. An exceptional amount of care was taken to have as little negative impact directly on students as possible. I honestly don’t know what else we could have done considering the financial challenges we faced," he added.
- with files from School District 83