New system expected to downsize school district’s finance department

Chilliwack school district is upgrading its financial reporting system bringing it in line with other district's in the province.

Chilliwack school board has approved the replacement of the school district’s financial reporting system at a one-time cost of $560,000.

The expense will come out of the school district’s local capital fund, which currently has a reserve of $1.8 million, and will be paid back within three and a half years through the staff savings it will produce.

The current reporting system for the district’s finances and human resources is year’s out of date, said secretary treasurer Gerry Slykhuis.

“It’s hard to use, it’s labour intensive to do anything… it’s very hard to get good reporting and good information out of the existing system,” said Slykhuis.

“And a budget this size, you need to be able to have good access to financial and HR information.”

The new system will be more efficient, and will eliminate the need for some of the staffing positions currently held in the school district’s finance department – at a savings of about $170,000 a year.

Slykhuis “hoped” not to leave staff without jobs, but rather to cut through attrition.

“My job is to spend as little as possible outside the classroom, however, sometimes you have to invest in modern tools in order to do that,” said Slykhuis. “Managing a $125 million budget with our current tools is really inadequate, and I can’t have the handle on my budget and my finances with the kind of reporting I have.”Slykhuis said it will bring Chilliwack school district in line with other school districts in the province.

The new system will cost an extra $8,000 annually in maintenance fees amounting to $75,000 a year.

The implementation will take two years to complete.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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