School district in a hole

The Vernon School District finds itself nearly a million dollars in the hole.

That revelation came to light Wednesday as the Board of Education of School District 22 heard first reading of its 2015-2016 budget.

“Inflationary and other cost pressures plus a cut in provincial funding of a little over $400,000 mean the School District faces a shortfall of about $950,000 this year,” said Adrian Johnson, acting secretary treasurer.

“The situation will get worse for the 2016-17 school year, when we see a further cut of $400,000 in provincial

Despite this shortfall, Board chair Kelly Smith said the district aims to enhance education next year by investing $200,000 into education-oriented information technology services and $150,000 in additional career support, technology support and numeracy support teachers.

“This extra expense will be mostly offset by anticipated savings of $300,000 in legal fees, transportation, a change in the funding model for school supplies and extra interest generated on cash deposits," said Smith.

The district indicated it plans to cover the $950,000 shortfall next school year through reserves leaving about $1 million remaining in the reserve fund.

“Using reserves is not a sustainable way of funding our operations though, and, with the additional $400,000 in cuts expected the following year, means we will be struggling to cut our budget by about $1.4 million for the 2016-17 school year," said Johnson.

District Supt. Joe Rogers said more that 100 people provided input into the budget including CUPE and the Vernon Teacher's Association.

He called the response tremendous and reflective of the passion of our community and staff for our children's education.

Between now and December, we will use the results of the public input to thoroughly and strategically analyze our expenditures and identify how we can bridge this $1.4 million funding gap with minimal impact on education in future years," said Rogers.


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