The COVID-19 pandemic will affect the budget for the 2020/2021 school year, according to Chilliwack School District staff, who laid out budget risks as part of the budget presentation on Tuesday, April 7. The presentation was part of the board’s regular meeting, which was conducted through the app Zoom. (Youtube image)

Chilliwack school district rolls out next year’s budget, expects COVID-19 costs to change things

Public is being encouraged to connect with the district with any questions about 2020/2021 budget

The public’s first glance at next school year’s budget for Chilliwack was presented to the board on Tuesday night.

The meeting was held via the Zoom app, with trustees and senior staff joining in from home. The meeting was posted to the Chilliwack School District’s YouTube page on Wednesday morning, and while it was not feasible to include a question period during the meeting, they are hoping the public will send in questions that can be answered.

The reason for the meeting being held this way was to practise safe social distancing, not just between the board and the public but amongst themselves as well. The meetings will be held this way as long as health officials are advising social distancing.

COVID-19 came up in discussions repeatedly in the budget presentation, mostly because the cost endured by school districts right now will need to be factored in, as well changes throughout the summer and even potentially into the fall. School board budgets are very fluid, constantly being adapted as enrolments change, government funding changes, snow days pile up, and multiple other factors.

They are all referred to as budget risks, and the pandemic plays largely into this right now.

READ MORE: Lofty plans for Chilliwack school district revealed

“This pandemic will probably have an effect on our budget and we will have to make changes at that time,” said Mark Friesen, assistant secretary treasurer for Chilliwack School District. While the pandemic is completely disrupting this school year, he noted that they had completed the bulk of the budget work just prior to that. He said the Ministry of Education has not moved deadlines for the budget process, but that because they had done so much advance work “it won’t be difficult to meet these deadlines.”

Along with Gerry Slykhuis, secretary treasurer, they laid out some basics on budgeting, including highlighting their priorities of special needs, teacher allocations, school supply and service allocations, school administrator entitlements, and custodial operations.

The presentation shows the dramatic rise in enrolment that started in 2015, and the stark drop in enrolment for distance education and continuing education. Both have put financial pressure on the district that are being addressed through additional spaces and eventually, new schools in Chilliwack.

Notably, the teachers’ union contract has not yet been ratified, which adds another question mark to the budget.

Those watching the Zoom meeting on YouTube will notice a vertical strip of inset images of people on the call covers many of the figures for the 2020/2021 year. But there are other chances to see the budget, including on the Chilliwack School District website, and in this story below. They underlined the fact that the board wants to hear from the public and that questions can be sent to Donna Vogel, at

The budget work will continue by the district’s finance team, and will come back to the board in May and June for three readings, with a deadline to submit to the Ministry of Education by June 30.

READ MORE: Name that school: Chilliwack Board of Education looking for name suggestions for two new schools

2020 Public Budget Presentation 07-Apr-20 by Jess Peters on Scribd


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Public participation is coming back to Chilliwack council meetings

City of Chilliwack will use Zoom video conferencing to allow the public to make presentations

VIDEO: Trees fall into Vedder River as loop trail damaged by erosion

High stream flows directed at river bank caused section of Vedder Rotary loop trail to erode

Investigators comb through Chilliwack house following standoff

RCMP say investigation involves report of an early morning shooting

MLA Throness celebrates Children and Youth in Care Week

‘Together we can help change the stigma,’ says Opposition Critic for Children and Youth in statement

No need to get out of your car at food truck festival in Abbotsford and Langley

Annual event takes drive-thru approach during COVID-19 pandemic

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

White Rock council considers allowing alcohol in waterfront park

Council mulls business-boosting measures, including picnic benches

Langley woman recalls last words spoken to mother who died of COVID-19 on 88th birthday

Verna Clarke was more than a senior with dementia who died of COVID at Langley Lodge, she was ‘loved’

Most Read