Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education chairwoman outlines new school district budget

$245.5 school board budget

On April 10, the School District 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) Board of Education presented the draft 2024-2025 annual budget, and how allocations are aligned to the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan priorities.

The board reviewed the estimated $245.5 million budget, comprised of three funds:

• The operating fund ($205 million)—The Ministry of Education and Child Care funds districts based on student enrolment and district location

• The special purpose fund ($28 million)—The Ministry of Education and Child Care or a third party provides school districts with funds for targeted, restricted or designated purposes.

• The capital fund ($12 million)—The Ministry of Education and Child Care provides funds for new schools, site acquisition, capital improvements, buses and playgrounds. The District is responsible for capital purchases such as furniture (new and replacement), computers, district and school-based equipment and vehicles.

The overall increase of $1.14 million in the 2024-2025 annual budget compared to the 2023-2024 amended annual budget is mainly due to the increase, on average, of 3.4% on the per student funding amounts announced by the ministry March 14.

The increase will provide districts with funds required to implement a 2% salary increase for teachers and support staff for year three of the shared recovery mandate.

In addition, in March 2024, the ministry announced an additional 1% cost of living adjustment to staff salaries that will be funded under a special grant outside of the per student funding amounts.

The change to the operating fund, between the draft annual budget for 2024-2025 and the amended annual budget for 2023-2024, is an increase of $4.7 million, reflecting a 3% salary increase for teaching and support staff as mentioned above. For the 2023-2024 amended annual budget, the district used $2.5 million of prior year reserve funds to support the purchase of additional resources and programs for schools and district departments, along with increases to Aboriginal student support blocks from the Aboriginal education targeted funds. This additional time for teachers was implemented to assist students needing additional support. For the 2024-2025 draft budget, utilization of reserve funds has not been considered.

The special purpose fund is estimated to decrease by $655,000 with the absence of the student and family affordability fund. In March 2024, the ministry announced an additional $20 million of funding for the remainder of the 2023-2024 school year, however funds available for carry forward into the 2024-2025 school year are not yet known and have not been included in the draft budget.

Changes to the capital fund are due to an increase to the amortization of capital assets and a decrease to the amount of capital assets purchased.

The pressures on the 2024-2025 budget are, relief costs for all employee classifications, the need for additional staffing (learning assistant resource teachers, school administration, district staff in human resources, finance, trades, information technology, and facilities), increases to employee benefit costs and increases to supplies and services such as fuel and freight charges, utilities, building repair and maintenance materials, school resources and school computer replacement costs.

At the time of the budget presentation, the ministry allocations did not include funds for escalating inflationary costs, such as supplies and utilities.

We invite you to review the budget in greater detail by watching the video presentation, reading a written summary or by reviewing the PDF presentation on the school district’s website—sd73.bc.ca—by clicking on the banner (see image above) and it will take you to the webpage with the information you require.

Once you have reviewed the budget, please offer your feedback at [email protected] by April 28.

Heather Grieve is the chairwoman of the Kamloops-Thompson School District Board of Education.

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