Good news budget proposed for school district

After two years of hard-nosed budgets, Chilliwack school district was due for a good news budget, and all signs are pointing to just that.

At Tuesday night’s board of education meeting, superintendent Corinne McCabe laid out the rough draft of the preliminary budget for the 2011-12 school year. And unlike last year, there are no layoffs, no tightening the purse strings, no shortfall, and no reconfiguring to make budget. Quite the opposite in fact.

“We will not see the kinds of layoffs [with this budget] we saw in the last two years,” said McCabe.

Total revenue for next year is projected at $109.2 million, an increase of $1.8 million from last year. Of that, $1.5 million is the result of increased enrollment.

Enrollment, which drives the majority of the district’s revenue through per pupil funding from the provincial government, is expected to be up by 251 full-time equivalent students, mostly in the kindergarten and primary grades. Total enrollment is projected at 13,334 students.

Chilliwack school district is also expected to end the year with an accumulated surplus of $6 million; $2 million more than it started out with this year.

Projected staffing has also increased across the board.

Teachers are listed at 685.5, an increase of 22.3 from last year; principals and vice principals are at 58.7, an increase of 3.0; executive and management staff are at 24.4, an increase of 0.7; education assistants are at 200.6, an increase of 3.7; and other support staff are at 255.6, an increase of 3.7.

“The good news in this budget is that our staffing is being held constant or slightly increasing, which means stability for our staff and students,” said McCabe. “We’re trying to maintain consistent staffing levels.”

The budget did not yet include the district’s projected expenditures.

The final preliminary budget will be presented and voted on at the May 10 board of education meeting.

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