School district learning to do with less (again)

Chilliwack school district looking to absorb $1.3 million budget shortfall

It’s going to be another lean year for the Chilliwack School District, as the second year of an administration savings cut imposed by the government rolls out across the province.

This year’s portion of that plan was released last week, in the Provincial Operating Grants Manual.

Between this school year and next, Chilliwack will have received a budget shortfall of $1,284,249.

“Overall, very disappointing,” said Gerry Slykhuis, secretary treasurer for SD33.

But because of planning made in last year’s budget, he said the district is in good shape to deal with the smaller grant amount.

“At this point, we’re not looking at big cuts this year,” he said. He is looking at ways to absorb the loss of revenue leading up to the next budget committee on April 27, where he’ll present the preliminary budget. Board trustees will have their first look at that budget on May 3.

While he still has some work ahead of him, Slykhuis doesn’t foresee the school district dipping into reserves to offset the lowered revenue.

He will be looking into other contingencies, he said, and won’t be in-classroom cuts. For example, last year’s addition of bussing fees helped balance out the loss of funding at the administration level.

Slykhuis has been a secretary treasurer since 2004, first up north and then here in Chilliwack. He said the cutbacks seem to be getting worse as time goes on.

“It’s just one surprise after another,” he said.

One of those surprises was a mandatory upgrade to a computer network system. The government implemented the Next Generation Network project last year, to improve internet infrastructures and replace the PLNet with faster digital communication services. Chilliwack’s share of that project this year was $315,000, and next year will be $563,000.

That was revealed at a public budget presentation earlier in March. The numbers at that point were contingent on last week’s announcement.

At first glance, the grant document looks like an increase, as the FTE for each student rose $8 to $7,166. It would have taken a $64 increase to cover the collective agreement increases, Slykhuis said.

There was no increase for any other classification of student, such as distributed learning, aboriginal, special needs, non-graduated adults, and newcomer refugees.

Slykhuis said some school districts are choosing to use their reserves to pay their deficits in an effort to balance budgets, and now some of those reserves are depleted.

Chilliwack took $600,000 out of reserves last year to pay out and extra $50 per student to each school, because they had a “slightly larger surplus.” But they won’t need to do that this year, Slykhuis said.

“We’re not using our reserves to pay ongoing costs,” he said, noting it’s not a good long term plan.

He added that it would be up to school board trustees whether to take up the matter of underfunding with the province.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Chilliwack drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read